Wednesday, July 26, 2017

That Time a Couple Irish Guys Burned Down the Houses of Parliament

From Parliament.UK:

The Great Fire of 1834 
In 1834, the Exchequer was faced with the problem of disposing two cart-loads of wooden tally sticks. These were remnants of an obsolete accounting system that had not been used since 1826. When asked to burn them, the Clerk of Works thought that the two underfloor stoves in the basement of the House of Lords would be a safe and proper place to do so.
Parliament on fire in 1834
On 16 October, a couple of workmen arrived in the morning to carry out his instructions. During the afternoon, a party of visitors to the House of Lords, conducted by the deputy housekeeper Mrs Wright, became puzzled by the heat of the floor, and by the smoke seeping through it. But the workmen insisted on finishing their job. The furnaces were put out by 5pm, and Mrs Wright, no longer worried, locked up the premises.

At 6pm, Mrs Wright heard the terrified wife of a doorkeeper screaming that the House of Lords was on fire. In no time, the flames had spread to the rest of the Palace. It was a great sight for the crowds on the streets (who were kept back by soldiers) and a great opportunity for artists such as J.M.W. Turner who painted several canvases depicting it....MORE
If interested see also the Irish Times:

The Irishman who destroyed the Houses of Parliament (and lived to tell the tale)!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_620_330/image.jpg
A contemporary painting by an unknown artist of the Palace of Westminster on fire in 1834. Copyright: Parliamentary Art Collection