The Southwark Fire Court

by Jay Tidmarsh, Ed. Sheila O’Connell

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On 26 May 1676, a fire consumed most of central Southwark. The fire panicked the nation and helped to kindle one of the great political crises in seventeenth-century England. To spur the speedy rebuilding of the borough, Parliament turned to a device that had proven so successful in responding to the Great Fire of London ten years earlier: a fire court. This court had the power to cut through the web of legal relationships that made rebuilding difficult and to spread the cost of rebuilding between lessors and tenants.

In this book Jay Tidmarsh, James J. Clynes Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, tells the story behind the Great Fire of Southwark, the City of London’s failed designs to reconstruct Southwark to its liking, and the Southwark Fire Court’s unrelenting effort to identify the builders best able to put Southwark back on its feet. The book also includes digests of all fifty-two of the Court’s decrees, which illuminate both the nature of property holdings in London and the ordinary people and places of Southwark.

Publication no: 188
Format: Hardback
Pages: 283
Publication date: 2024
Size: 25 × 16 × 2.5 cm
Weight: 1029g