Fire!

Fire was a constant threat in London, where memories of the Great Fire ran deep. Since then, building codes had been improved in an effort to minimize the spread of a fire, but there were still frequent and devastating fires. This report, from the Ipswich Journal, is of a relatively minor one in September 1735. The report also gives an interesting snapshot of the various businesses on one street, a picture not always easy to come by.

On Sunday Morning, a Fire broke out in a Back-House or Workshop of Mr. Brown a Hatter, on the North-Side of Wapping-Street by Wapping-Dock; the Flames immediately catched hold of Timber Piles in the Yard adjoining to the said Shed, thence to the Houses on the East-Side of Wapping-Dock-Street, and at the same Time to another Timber-Yard Eastward of the other, and to the House of Mr. Stiggers, standing in the Cartway passage to the said Yards, and thence to the Houses on the West side of King Edward Street, and to the South and North sides of Cinamon-Street: In Wapping-Dock-Street 11 Houses were burnt down to the Ground, and seven damaged; in Cinamon Street 16 burnt down, and eight damaged; in King Edward-street four burnt down, and 10 damaged; -the Ship Tavern the Corner of Wapping-Dock-Street and Wapping streets, having a good party Wall, check’d its Fury on that Side, and the Southerly Wind carrying the Flames Northward, chiefly sav’d not only Mr. Brown’s Dwelling-House, but the Houses of a Distiller, a Pewterer, a Cork Cutter, an empty House, a Grocer’s and a Milliner’s House in the same Row, though the Outhouses or sheds belonging to every one of them were totally destroyed: All the Inhabitants are safe, the Flames of the Timber giving them sufficient Notice to avoid them. Mr. Dean, Deputy Foreman of the Royal-Exchange Firemen, and Mr. Mackarel, a Fireman to the London Assurance, received some Damage by the Fall of a Wall, but their Wounds are not dangerous.

Thankfully, the pub was saved, athough thirty-one houses were destroyed and 25 more dmaged.

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