Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Broken Dreams of Boulevards. Great Fire Show Explores Wren's Design for London

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Broken Dreams of Boulevards. Great Fire Show Explores Wren's Design for London

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Dex

A VISION of a London that never was designed by Sir Christopher Wren to rise from the ashes of the Great Fire forms part of a new exhibition marking the 350th anniversary of the blaze.

The city plan, drawn up by the man responsible for rebuilding the destroyed St Paul's Cathedral, featured long boulevards broken up with Continentalstyle piazzas. It was rejected as it would have been too expensive and taken too long to construct. Instead, the capital was largely rebuilt on its old street plan.

Meriel Jeater, who is curating the Fire! Fire! exhibition at the Museum of London, said Sir Christopher and contemporaries including the writer John Evelyn, who also submitted a design to rebuild the city, were influenced by the "dissatisfaction" with the way London had been laid out.

She said: "They were inspired by various architectural fashions of the time. Particularly, they were interested in classical architecture and throughout the 17th century there was this move towards big squares and piazzas and long boulevards and vistas, and certainly you see that in Wren and Evelyn's plans. …

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