THE GREAT Fire of London began on Pudding Lane on 2 September 1666.
And yesterday – exactly 347 years later – there was once again smoke in the vicinity, as the Walkie Talkie’s beam of hot light set the carpet of a nearby barber shop on fire.
“We want the developer to fix it somehow,” Ali Akay of Re-Style barbers on Eastcheap told City A.M. “It’s not my problem – even the wood [of the door] is burning and all our product is melting. It’s not safe.”
His comments were echoed by Tony Nggy of Viet Cafe. Slates on the doorstep of his building had heated up so much that they had shattered and jumped up in the air. The paint on the front of his restaurant was also beginning to blotch and melt.
“If it is a problem caused by the [developers] then of course we want them to do something about it,” he said.
Insurance broker Rupert Stone was sunning himself when the tiles started cracking: “The slate went pop in the heat and jumped up half a foot. I think they’re going to have to take the building down – they can’t ask people to close the curtains.”
Malka Baker, a House of Commons guide, had come especially to see the beam of light: “I’ve just been to Mumbai and it’s hotter than Mumbai. Can they put a shield on it? They need to do something.”