Wednesday, August 31

The second biggest bibliographic tragedy after the burning of Alexandria Library

I never heard this before but now that I have read it, its so tragic!

In September 1666, the ‘lamentable and dismal fire’ that we now know as the Great Fire consumed most of the City of London, from Fleet Street to the edges of the Tower of London, coating what remained in inches of soot, destroying homes, churches and ancient company halls, and causing many thousands to sleep out under the late-summer stars. As many as 100,000 people were rendered homeless, more than 80 churches were razed, along with St Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Exchange and the Guildhall. Within three days, four-fifths of the ancient city had been destroyed.The flames not only consumed buildings, but also paintings, tapestries, and evaporated thousands of gallons of wine, beer and other liquor (estimated at over £1m in value). Many thousands of books and manuscripts also joined the pyre in perhaps one of the most terrible, and perhaps neglected, losses of the Great Fire. As one chronicler of the fire notes ‘Never since the burning of the great library at Alexandria had there been such a holocaust of books’ (W G Bell, The Great Fire of London in 1666

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