Rare lithographic image illustrating the aftermath of the Tower of London fire, October 30, 1841.
The image is taken looking to the northwest, with a panorama of the first and surrounding buildings, with 3 companies of fire fighters pumping water to unseen fire fighters inside the Long Armory, with several onlookers, including a royal guard. In the distance, St. Dunstan, The Monument to the Great Fire of London, and several other churches can bee seen in the distance.
The image credits J.C. Peal as the artist and lithographer, Standidge & Co. as the printer and N.H. Coates, 139 Cheapside, as the publisher.
The 1841 fire at the Tower of London was the worst fire in its history. The first started the Bowyer Tower at about 10:30pm. The Tower's fire engines arrived in a timely fashion, but there was insufficient water for all the engines and the Fire Engines of the city were stopped by the Tower guards, allowing the entire Bowyer Tower to burn.
The fire spread to the Tower Armories and Storehouse by the Chapel of St. Peter and Vincula, as well as the Martin Tower, where the crown jewels were then stored. The Keeper of the Jewel House had only the key to the outer room in his possession. The key to the cabinets was kept by the Lord Chamberlain. Crowbars were used to gain access to the cabinets and a single policeman entered and passed out the crown jewels, bearing heat so intense that his uniform was charred.
The fire was contained by 3:00 am, destroying the Bowyer Tower and Brick Tower. The White Tower and the Chapel of St. Peter and Vincula were both heavily damaged.