Second Great Fire of London

The night of 29 December/30 December 1940 was one of the most destructive air raids of the London Blitz, destroying many Livery Halls and gutting the medieval Great Hall of the City's Guildhall. This night was quickly dubbed The Second Great Fire of London and destroyed an area arguably greater than that of the Great Fire of London of 1666.Fact|date=January 2008 Some 1500 fires were started, including three major conflagrations. Whereas in 1666 the devastation was overwhelmingly within the City proper, in 1940, it extended far beyond. The largest continuous area of Blitz destruction anywhere in Britain occurred that night, stretching down from Islington to the very edge of St Paul's Churchyard. St Paul's Cathedral itself was only saved by the dedication of its volunteer firewatchers and by the London firemen who fought to keep the flames from spreading to its roof, and that the Luftwaffe pilots used the Cathedral as a navigation marker on their bombing runs.

Aftermath

The 'Second Great Fire of London' is commemorated in a famous photograph taken from the roof of the "Daily Mail" building by Herbert Mason, in which the dome of St Paul's Cathedral rises above clouds of black smoke.

References

*Gaskin M. J. "Blitz: The Story of 29th December 1940" (Faber, 2005)
*Cyril Demarne "The London Blitz, A Fireman's Story"(After the Battle, 1991)


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