To mark the anniversary of a now little-remembered national catastrophe – the nineteenth-century fire which obliterated the UK Houses of Parliament – Oxford University Press and author Caroline Shenton will reconstruct the events of that fateful day and night in a real-time Twitter campaign.
At 6:30am 16 October 1834, two workmen kindled small fires in the furnaces below the Houses of Parliament. At 6.30pm, to the surprise and horror of bystanders, a gigantic volume of flame burst from the frontage of the House of Lords. The flames spread rapidly, soon creating a blaze so enormous it could be seen by the King and Queen at Windsor. By morning, the 800 year-old building and its contents were no more. None of the hundreds of thousands of Londoners who witnessed the event would ever forget it.