The Day Parliament Burned Down

The Day Parliament Burned Down

by Caroline Shenton


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In the early evening of 16 October 1834, to the horror of bystanders, a huge ball of fire exploded through the roof of the House of Parliament, creating a blaze so enormous that it could be seen by the King and Queen at Windsor, and from stagecoaches on top of the South Downs. In front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses the great conflagration destroyed Parliament's glorious old buildings and their content. No one who watched the burning of the ancient Palace of Westminster would ever forget it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199677504
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 08/24/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Caroline Shenton is Clerk of the Records at the Parliamentary Archives in London. She was previously a senior archivist at the National Archives and has worked in and around collections relating to the old Palace of Westminster for over twenty years. Educated at the University of St Andrews, Worcester College Oxford and University College London, she is a Fellow of both the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xiii

List of Maps xvi

Note to the Reader xvii

Prologue 1

1 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 6 a.m.: Mr Hume's motion for a new House 5

2 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 7 a.m.: Novelty, novelty, novelty 22

3 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 9 a.m.: Worn-out, worm-eaten, rotten old bits of wood 40

4 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 3 p.m.: Manifest indications of danger 58

5 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 6 p.m.: One of the greatest instances of stupidity upon record 70

6 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 7 p.m.: The brilliancy of noonday 85

7 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 8 p.m.: Immense and appalling splendour 101

8 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 9 p.m.: Damn the House of Commons! 120

9 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 10 p.m.: But save, oh save the Hall! 137

10 Thursday, 16 October 1834, 11 p.m.: Milton's Pandemonium 155

11 Friday, 17 October 1834, Midnight: A national calamity 173

12 Friday, 17 October 1834, 1 a.m.: Emptying the Thames 193

13 Friday, 17 October 1834, 3.30 a.m.: Thank God we seem all safe 208

14 Friday, 17 October 1834, 4 a.m.: Guy Faux has rose again 212

15 Friday, 17 October 1834, 6 a.m.: Past peril 230

Epilogue 243

Dramatis Personae 263

Notes 271

Bibliography 307

Index 317

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