Inside London Fire Brigade is a three-part documentary series followed the brigade over the last year as they responded to a staggering range of emergencies. It provides a unique insight into their work, with firefighters filming themselves on the dangerous front line using special fire cameras. It is access on an unprecedented scale to incidents across the whole of London.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Inside London Fire Brigade - Great Fire of London - Netflix
The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London from Sunday, 2 September to Thursday, 6 of September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. It threatened but did not reach the aristocratic district of Westminster, Charles II's Palace of Whitehall, and most of the suburban slums. It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul's Cathedral, and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City's 80,000 inhabitants. The death toll is unknown but was traditionally thought to have been small, as only six verified deaths were recorded. This reasoning has recently been challenged on the grounds that the deaths of poor and middle-class people were not recorded; moreover, the heat of the fire may have cremated many victims, leaving no recognisable remains. A melted piece of pottery on display at the Museum of London found by archaeologists in Pudding Lane, where the fire started, shows that the temperature reached 1,250 °C (2,280 °F; 1,520 K).
Inside London Fire Brigade - Fire hazards in the city - Netflix
The City was essentially medieval in its street plan, an overcrowded warren of narrow, winding, cobbled alleys. It had experienced several major fires before 1666, the most recent in 1632. Building with wood and roofing with thatch had been prohibited for centuries, but these cheap materials continued to be used. The only major stone-built area was the wealthy centre of the City, where the mansions of the merchants and brokers stood on spacious lots, surrounded by an inner ring of overcrowded poorer parishes whose every inch of building space was used to accommodate the rapidly growing population. These parishes contained workplaces, many of which were fire hazards—foundries, smithies, glaziers—which were technically illegal in the City but tolerated in practice. The human habitations were crowded to bursting point, intermingled with these sources of heat, sparks, and pollution, and their construction increased the fire risk. The typical six- or seven-storey timbered London tenement houses had “jetties” (projecting upper floors). They had a narrow footprint at ground level, but maximised their use of land by “encroaching” on the street, as a contemporary observer put it, with the gradually increasing size of their upper storeys. The fire hazard was well perceived when the top jetties all but met across the narrow alleys; “as it does facilitate a conflagration, so does it also hinder the remedy”, wrote one observer—but “the covetousness of the citizens and connivancy [corruption] of Magistrates” worked in favour of jetties. In 1661, Charles II issued a proclamation forbidding overhanging windows and jetties, but this was largely ignored by the local government. Charles's next, sharper message in 1665 warned of the risk of fire from the narrowness of the streets and authorised both imprisonment of recalcitrant builders and demolition of dangerous buildings. It, too, had little impact. The river front was important in the development of the Great Fire. The Thames offered water for firefighting and the chance of escape by boat, but the poorer districts along the riverfront had stores and cellars of combustibles which increased the fire risk. All along the wharves, the rickety wooden tenements and tar paper shacks of the poor were shoehorned amongst “old paper buildings and the most combustible matter of tarr, pitch, hemp, rosen, and flax which was all layd up thereabouts.” London was also full of black powder, especially along the river front. Much of it was left in the homes of private citizens from the days of the English Civil War, as the former members of Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army still retained their muskets and the powder with which to load them. Five to six hundred tons of powder was stored in the Tower of London. The ship chandlers along the wharves also held large stocks, stored in wooden barrels.
Inside London Fire Brigade - References - Netflix