The Eye

London Burned an Effigy of the City to Mark the 350th Anniversary of Its Most Devastating Fire

A 394-foot-long wooden model of London’s 17th-century skyline burns on the River Thames after it was set alight in a dramatic retelling of the story of the Great Fire of London on Sunday. The event commemorated the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.

John Phillips/Getty Images

In 1666, London was devastated by a raging inferno that laid waste to its medieval wooden infrastructure and became one of the defining disasters in the city’s history. Last week, the city commemorated the Great Fire of London with Great Fire 350, a series of fire-themed art and cultural events that culminated in “London 1666,” a spectacular symbolic re-enactment of the fire by American sculptor David Best.

John Phillips/Getty Images

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The 1666 inferno destroyed most of the walled inner city dating back to Roman times—a bustling, congested maze of tightly-packed wooden houses. It forced London to rebuild anew from the ashes.

Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Famous for his Burning Man temples, Best designed a sprawling 394-foot-long wooden architectural model representing London’s 17th-century skyline. It was floated on the Thames and summarily burned in a dramatic retelling of the historic event.

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Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Workers lift a steeple into place on Aug. 30.

Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

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Watch London burn below:

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