On a warm and sunny evening the Master was joined by Liverymen and guests at the Monument to take part in a walk through the City, especially designed for Livery Companies, to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire.
We were met by our guide, David Thompson, a Blue Badge and former Chair of the Guild of Registered Tourist Guides, who was the most fascinating and informative guide and really made the walk come to life.
Starting at the Monument, David explained the carving on the base , interpreting it in such a vivid a way that I am sure those present will not forget in a hurry.
Moving on to London Bridge, with the help of excerpts from Samuel Pepys' diary, we learned of the progress and extent of the fire where the only escape to the South side was the bridge, which proved to be a fire break . It seems incredible that only 6 people were recorded to have died. Howerver, 50 Livery Halls were lost.
We passed many Livery Halls, including the Fishmongers, Skinners, Dyers, Innholders and Stationers Halls during our tour and
it was fascinating to learn that due to the vast quantities of rebuilding that needed to be done post fire, King Charles II gave permission for foreign bricklayers to be brought in to help. Foreign in those days meant from outside the City - in fact men were conscripted from each county in the country.
We were enthralled by the account of Wren and his rebuilding and design of St Paul’s cathedral - how much went on internally, which will never be seen, and where the stone came from. We also heard of the poor Stationers, who believed that by putting all their wares in the cathedral crypt they would be safe. They weren’t.
This fascinating walk and talk ended at Blackfriars Bridge, where David was thanked, and those who wished went for a refreshing drink and chat in the nearby Blackfriars pub. We all agreed that we had a most enjoyable and convivial evening.