As we celebrate Labor Day (Labour to those crazy Canucks) in the U.S. with BBQs and parades let’s stop and remember the 345th anniversary of the Great London Fire. You know, because we were all there. The fire began on 2 September 1666 and ended three days later. One-third of London was destroyed including 10,000 buildings. The Royal Exchange, Guild Hall and original St. Paul’s Cathedral were the most famous losses. About 100,000 people were made homeless, but only 16 people died. It took about 50 years to rebuild the ruined city at a cost of 10 million pounds, which doesn’t sound like a lot today, but it’s probably similar to how much Google makes in a day or something. The London Fire Brigade officially began during the 1666 fire and, sure enough, they have a museum to tell you all about it. There are the usual historical facts, old fire appliances and equipment as well as various uniforms from the 1700s to the present. And what Fire Museum would this be without fire engines! You can see horse drawn ones to self-propelled steam engines to early 20th century battery powered vans. This might be exciting if, say, I was a little boy in a little red wagon…but I’m not. At least as far as I know. Haven’t looked in the mirror lately.
What you can’t tell from looking at the above photo is that enclosed pump releases gallons and gallons of tea. Hold the milk.