for leading me to some London based thatched history
‘The immoderate drinking of fools and the frequency of fires’
was a description of London in the 1170's by William Fitzstephen. 850 years later the drinking continues to be embraced by the population with gusto, but thankfully the frequency of tragic fires has decreased. But as Grenfell shows it still happens in the modern age. Apparently one of the first building regulations in London was the banning of new thatched buildings, which was introduced in the year 1212.
By the time of the 'great fire of London' in 1666, the cities buildings were mostly free from thatch, but it was the timber houses that burned so well in the dry summer that year. So by Royal declaration the 1667 Rebuilding Act introduced stricter building regulations aimed at eliminating some of the risks that caused the 1666 tragedy.
As far as I know the only building in London permitted to have a thatched roof, is the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe theatre which was completed in 1997, the regulations waived so it could be built with original materials. The Globe roof underwent some restoration in 2008 when the original Master Thatchers came back with a team of ten men to work on the iconic roof for 4 weeks. They used 800 bundles of sedge (a grass-like plant from the Norfolk Broads), 10,000 English hazel spars, 2,500 feet of liggers (thatching strips) and 600 litres of fire retardant fluid.
The Globe had previously already burnt to the ground in 1613 in a fire caused by cannons used during the performance of Shakespeare play Henry VIII.
It was rebuilt and opened again, before being closed by the Puritans in 1642, and was completely demolished a few years later to make way for houses.
I went along to have a look at the refurbished Globe this morning.
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More info: https://thatchinginfo.com/thatching-in-the-city-of-london/