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The Great Fire of London, 1666: A Cold Case Fire Investigation

Posted on 30th August 2016 at 13:40pm

To coincide with the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London, the Worshipful Company of Firefighters, a City Livery Company, has commissioned a unique book on the event, drawing on the expertise of its members, and produced by the Crisis Response Journal.

The Great Fire was one of the most notable events in the history of the City of London. While there was no major loss of life, it devastated the fabric of the city.

The focus of this book is a cold-case review of the Great Fire written from the perspective of Liveryman Dr Peter Mansi, an internationally-renowned fire investigator and formerly a London Fire Brigade firefighter who served as the Borough Commander for the City of London.

Dr Mansi has used the methods that would be employed by fire investigators today to assess how the fire started and then progressed across a large area of the city. His investigation has highlighted some serious shortcomings in the original investigation and the official documentation of the fire, the Parliamentary Report.

As Dr Mansi notes: “For the Fire Investigator, the important facts are, what was the ignition source, the first fuel ignited, and what was the mechanism that brought the two together? A man was executed for starting this fire. Was the evidence on which the verdict rested reliable? This cold-case review recognises the advances that have been made in forensic fire investigation methodology over the intervening 350 years and questions some of the conclusions in the original investigation.”

This commemorative book also documents the impact the fire had on the City Livery Companies and churches, as well as on the development of fire insurance and techniques for fighting fire. A Great Fire Walk is included, guiding the reader around many of the places mentioned in the book.

The Master of the Worshipful Company of Firefighters, Bruce Hoad, who also served with the London Fire Brigade and has professional links with the City of London, says: “We are very proud to have produced this book as a contribution to the wider commemorative events taking place in the City to mark the 350th Anniversary, and we are particularly pleased to be able to assemble the book using expertise from within our own Company.”

Because it covers a wide-range of topics related to the Great Fire, it is anticipated that this book will appeal to many readers drawn from a variety of backgrounds, including those in City of London institutions, educationalists, historians, firefighters, fire investigators and the general public.

All profits from the sale of this book will go to the Worshipful Company of Firefighters’ Charitable Trust, which supports a number of charities related to the support of firefighters, those injured by fire and the promotion of educational initiatives related to firefighting.

Click here for more details and how to order 

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