From the ‘Second Great Fire of London’ during a World War II Blitz firestorm to the blazes at York Minster and Notre Dame, FIRE Correspondent Tony Prosser reports on the recent history of cathedral fires.
At around 1850 on December 29, 1940, the Number 2 Watch loggist recorded the first entry in a busy night in the Firewatcher Team Occurrence Book, in the Crypt Headquarters of St Paul’s Cathedral, sitting on Ludgate Hill, the highest point of the City of London.
The raid, small by normal standards – around 136 aircraft – had begun around 1800 that evening but had already started to cause a conflagration north of St Paul’s threatening one fifth of a square mile of densely populated homes and factories. Above the drone of the Heinkels, Junkers and Dorniers and the ever-closer rumble of explosions, a clatter was heard on the cathedral’s library floor. A phone call from the Advanced HQ in the Whispering Gallery told the loggist that an incendiary bomb, the first of 28 that night, had landed on the library floor.
Read the full article on page 19 of FIRE magazine March 2020