Duton Hill pub’s garden goes up in smoke for Great Fire of London celebration

The audience watch London burn from their damp vantage point

The audience watch London burn from their damp vantage point - Credit: Celia Bartlett

A pub garden was filled with flames at the weekend – all in aid of commemorating the Great Fire of London.

Cast and crew&in the rain!

Cast and crew&in the rain! - Credit: Celia Bartlett

A comedy re-enactment of the historical event was enjoyed by all at The Three Horseshoes Pub in Duton Hill on Saturday, September 3.

The Duton Hill Community Association described the event as a play, a pageant, a musical and a concert, all rolled into one.

It took a brief, sweeping look at history starting with the Romans, stepping forward to the Battle of Hastings, the Domesday book, Henry V, and the plague, before carrying onto the Great Fire of London and the building of St Paul’s Cathedral, before settling at England’s world cup triumph in 1966.

The event was directed and devised by Derek Connell, Jan Ford and Richard Marling, with additional material from the cast and crew – who were all volunteers from the area.

Some of the narration for the play was researched directly from Samuel Pepys diary, a 17th Century writer who chronicled when the fire began in 1666.

Even though the play was outside and it was a rainy evening, it was still a big success.

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Mr Connell said: “It was pouring with rain and the actors were saying to me ‘are we gonna do it or not?’ And I said if there are people sitting there on the grass waiting at 7.30, then we’ll do it, and at half past seven there were 100 people sitting in my garden in their macs and so we did it.

“People laughed in the right places and cheered and clapped and gave us applause at the end and I won’t hear a bad word said against it.

“The pie and mash was excellent after the show, everybody came into the pub and warmed themselves with up with it.”

Although there was originally meant to be a after-show concert, the rain was too heavy to go ahead.

Derek would especially like to thank Chris Jones for his part in organising the event – including acting, staging, scenery, and pyrotechnics – saying it “would not have happened without him”.