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What If The Great Fire Of London Never Happened in 1666?

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When fire shot through the City of London over the course of three days in early September 1666, razing everything in its path, the future of England’s capital – its very existence – was in jeopardy. Although the estimated death toll remained remarkably low for a fire that wreaked such destruction, the City itself looked much different when the final smouldering was extinguished.More than 13,000 houses had been destroyed, along with nearly 90 churches. Some significant buildings were lost to the flames, including the original St Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Exchange, as well as the city gates at Aldersgate, Ludgate and Newgate. The subsequent history of England would have taken a different complexion had its entire capital been lost. As it was, the flames were largely limited to the City of London.A few historians have even suggested that, in some regards, the Great Fire of London turned out to be a force for good. The principal tenet of this line of thinking revolves around the Great Plague. The belief is that, when fire broke out, the epidemic – which had ripped so easily through the cheek-by-jowl living quarters of the City the previous year – would have found it much harder be transmitted; in short, that the fire killed off the epidemic, certainly in London.Did you know?Thomas Farriner’s bakehouse (where the Great Fire of London began) was not located on Pudding Lane, as traditionally believed. Hearth tax records show it was actually sited on Fish Yard, a small enclave off Pudding Lane.Dr Clare Jackson – senior tutor at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and author of the award-winning Devil-Land: England Under Siege, 1588–1688 (Allen Lane, 2021) – dismisses this theory. “This is a myth. The Great Fire had not spread to areas that had experienced particularly high levels of plague infection, such as Southwark, Clerkenwell and Whitechapel.” That is, the flames failed to reach certain districts, so couldn’t have had an impact on plague numbers.Plus, the timeline of the epidemic doesn’t neatly tally with the timeline of the Great Fire, as Dr Jackson explains: “Plague mortality had already started to decline from late 1665, while people also continued to die from plague after the Fire. Popular associations between the Great Plague of 1665 and the Fire of 1666 arise only from their close chronological proximity.”On the podcast | Rebecca Rideal responds to listener questions about the devastating blaze that swept through the capital in 1666:Understandably, the Great Fire caused mass migration from the City of London to surrounding areas. But this alone didn’t reshape the city, especially as much of this migration was only short term as the homeless sought temporary shelter in the open land beyond the city limits, particularly to the north. By then, London was already swiftly expanding and swelling.More like this“Before the Fire, there had already been significant expansion westwards, with local populations moving beyond the City’s walls to escape overcrowding. Newly fashionable areas such as St James, Covent Garden and Westminster were attracting the gentry and upwardly mobile migrants, while poorer families were tending to move eastwards.”A speedy recoveryRather than licking its wounds, the City of London swiftly set about rebuilding itself. The economy obviously took an immediate knock, but it wasn’t as catastrophic a hit as might have been expected. “While there was inevitable short-term disruption to trade,” explains Dr Jackson, “the speed with which the authorities embarked on rapid rebuilding and recovery was remarkable. Two sets of plans for the City’s rebuilding had already been submitted to the government of Charles II by 13 September 1666, only a week after the Fire ended. By 1670, around 6,000 houses had been rebuilt.”One legacy of the Great Fire was the use of less flammable materials in building; the Rebuilding Act of 1667 specified that “all the outsides of all buildings in and about the said City be henceforth made of brick or stone”.However, as Dr Jackson clarifies, the events of 1666 can’t take complete credit, pointing out that, during the early 1600s, James VI and I had made similar restrictions on the use of materials in construction in London, “both to reduce fire risk and to reserve timber for England’s Navy ships. Such orders had, however, often been disregarded, but the Fire of 1666 provided an opportunity for widespread enforcement, as City authorities were given the right to demolish illegally built houses.”In context: the Great Fire of LondonFrom Sunday 2 to Wednesday 5 September 1666, the City of London was overwhelmed by the largest, fastest-moving fire it had ever experienced, one that razed most of the buildings within its walls to the ground. Having broken out in a bakery just after 12am, the fire spread swiftly through the night.There was a chance to contain its reach early on by demolishing buildings ahead of its path to create firebreaks, but the Lord Mayor dallied over authorising such measures and the fire took serious hold. Fanned by easterly winds, it roared largely unchallenged across the entire City.The flames only dissipated when the wind dropped nearly 72 hours after its outbreak. It was “the saddest sight of desolation that I ever saw,” recorded the famed diarist Samuel Pepys.One of the grandest rebuilds was, of course, the magnificent Sir Christopher Wren-designed St Paul’s Cathedral, which still dominates the London skyline as viewed looking northwards from the South Bank of the Thames. That’s an undisputed visual reminder of the Fire.One last potential legacy of 1666 concerns how prepared London was for subsequent outbreaks of fires. Within a few years, the large-scale adoption of fire insurance became standard practice, but the idea that a new emergency service was immediately created is again debunked by Dr Jackson. “There were a few new fire pumps, but the first city-wide fire service was not created until January 1833.”Perhaps it should have come into force earlier. In 1676, 600 houses in Southwark were lost to a blaze, and a further 1,000 in Wapping six years after that. In conclusion, although it accelerated certain developments that were already afoot, had the Great Fire not happened, the course of English history wouldn’t have been terribly affected. However, if the wind hadn’t dropped three days into the fire and the flames had continued to consume all before them, the events of September 1666 could have left the country without a capital city.Clare Jackson is senior tutor of Trinity Hall at the University of Cambridge. She has presented the BBC2 series The Stuarts and its sequel, The Stuarts in Exile, and is author of Devil-Land: England under Siege 1588-1688 (Allen Lane, 2021)This article was first published in the October 2022 edition of BBC History Revealed

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ICE London 2023 to feature exhibitors from record 68 nations – IAG

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Industry trade show ICE London will feature exhibitors from a record 68 nations, topping the previous best of 65 set three years ago, according to organizer Clarion Gaming.
ICE London returns as a full-sized show for the first time since 2020 from 7 to 9 February, with the total 623 exhibitors representing everything from Argentina to Australia and Macau to Mexico.
“No other exhibition in the gaming space can come anywhere near the internationalism of ICE,” said Clarion Gaming Managing Director, Stuart Hunter.
“To have 68 nations represented by our community of exhibitors means that visitors are immediately part of what is a global experience with unique access to the smartest gaming innovators drawn from every corner of the world. There are very few exhibitions of scale in any industry sector which are able to compare with such international representation and legitimately lay claim to being a ‘global’ or a ‘world’ event.
“Once an event is recognized as being genuinely international, stakeholder groups including brands, regulators, trade associations, media groups and strategic industry-wide bodies focus their activities accordingly.
“Research that we’ve undertaken has shown that for many people ICE and iGB Affiliate London actually start on the Sunday preceding and finish on the following Saturday. In that week we estimate that over 100 gambling industry events will take place outside of the show hours providing a new and compelling perspective on why ICE and iGB Affiliate London are so influential and important to the world industry.”
IAG will have a team of four at ICE London next week. Visit us at Stand ND7-C.

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David Ford and Annie Dressner Live in London

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There’s something special about London on a Saturday night – there’s a certain buzz in the air as you head into the Capital city. For me that buzz was extra special, as I was going to see David Ford and Annie Dressner at The Lexington in Islington. I literally listened to their ’10 Days (Live)’ album for the first time a week ago, but since then it’s been on repeat and heading in I knew that the night was going to be special.
The Lexington is a great place for music, with a bar on the ground floor before heading up the winding stairs to the spacious venue itself. And as the crowd started coming in, the atmosphere in the room was growing by the minute.
Opening the night was Scottish singer songwriter Gary Stewart. He set the night off really well, with an engaging set that got the crowd onside from the start. He opened with his 2021 single ‘Hot To Trot‘ and you already knew the set was going to be a good one – a rousing folk song with great lyrical dexterity. The highlight of the set was ‘Frontlines’, a simply gorgeous song (check out a YouTube video of the song here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDCLwYwsesk). Gary ended with a fine cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Song for the Asking’.
It was time for a quick visit to the bar before settling down for the main event. 
The duo appeared on the stage to great applause, David in an orange shirt and Annie in a sparkling black dress. They opened with ‘Easy Falling’, the first song that I’ve ever heard of theirs, and a song that convinced me I needed to listen to the rest of the album. This slow and moving number is a touching love song and shows off the brilliant harmonies of David and Annie – there’s something special about the English (David) and US accents (Annie) mingling in the way that they do. 
Throughout the set, there were so many highlights. ‘Something I’ll Have to Learn‘ is a song with an almost timeless feel that feels like a conversation in song, Annie’s original ‘Strangers Who Knew Each Other’s Names‘ was simply brilliant and ‘Some Folks Are Lucky I Guess‘ is a song with a great sentiment. ‘Can’t Help What I Want‘ (below) is a great example of those brilliant harmonies that the two share.

‘Trash‘, a cover of the Suede hit, was a particular highlight – a song that was a nice surprise on the live album. As they break into ‘Oh maybe, maybe it’s the clothes you wear‘ it almost feels like this was a song that Suede wrote for David and Annie, their version is that good. Outstanding.
The set had a second cover, a song that Annie introduced as ‘an American classic‘. This classic was ‘Ain’t No Pleasing You‘ from Chas and Dave, a song that typified the cockney sound of London back in the 1980’s. I love the way they re-worked it and there was something special about the way Annie sings the word ‘Darling’ in her US twang that just resonated and put a smile on my face.
There were great moments of humour throughout the night, the chat between the two great. At one point mid-song, Annie passed her guitar to David, exclaiming ‘I knew there were chords in this song, I just didn’t know which ones‘ which had the crowd laughing.
The best of the night was saved till last. ‘Warning Sign’ had quickly become my favourite song from the pair and hearing it live in person lived up to all expectations. There’s such a beauty in live music, and hearing songs like this with other people in a venue can really bring a song home – and almost even change your own personal relationship with a song.
The final song of the night (there was no encore as David explained that they literally had no more songs!) was ‘Put Me In A Corner’. Annie’s vocals take the lead in this track and it was just magical, the emotion of the song emanating from the stage and filling the room. You can listen and see for yourself below.

You never know what to expect when you see an artist or artists perform for the first time. Some exceed expectations and some just don’t hit the heights you expect. In David Ford and Annie Dressner, it was definitely the former. The gig was stripped back – just two people on a stage creating a moment. And what a moment it was.
Annie and David and reviewer Nick Cantwell
Check out their websites and hit and follow the social links!
http://www.dressnerford.com/

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http://anniedressner.com/
***Note – I need to say a word about the audience for the gig. The audience was impeccable, with barely any talking at all at any point (apart from whispered orders at the bar). Credit goes to Gary, Annie and David, who managed to grab the audience from the start, but also to everyone there. If you were there yourself, give yourself a high five!***
Review written by Nick Cantwell (instagram.com/nickcantwellmanagement)
 
 
 


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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties – Church Times

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties  Church Times

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