I’ve been following @samuelpepys since the summer. I did read the online Pepys’s diary for a while back in 2004 but there were one too many entries in which too little happened. Then this summer I read By Permission of Heaven about the Great Fire of London and someone mentioned @samuelpepys on a #followfriday. I discovered it was the same person who built the Pepys diary, and that we were in the summer of 1666. Rumours of the Dutch abounded, and occassional sickness.

And, of course, I knew what was coming in September.

Phil Gyford, the man who coded the site and the twitter feed, has set it up perfectly.

Jane called us up about three in the morning, to tell us of a great fire they saw in the City.
03:12, 2 Sept

The timing of it suggests someone who, having been woken with the news, reaches for their iphone/blackberry/other in order to share things immediately.

To the Lieutenant of the Tower, who tells me that it begun this morning in the King’s baker’s house in Pudding-lane.
08:12, 2 Sept

This is one reason why twitter is interesting and meaningful. It has the ability to create a sense of what an event must be like to live through unmatched by anything written after the event.

At the time of the Fire, there was much suspicion that the fire was started by aliens (in the older sense of the word i.e. foreigners). I can reveal this to be true:

See? Aliens.

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One Response to “Fire!”

  1. Tiffany Says:

    Hi Liz. I realise that Exeter is a bit of a distance from Oxford, but I thought you might want to know that I’ll be at Mansfield College, Oxford, for a conference next week. Naomi and I are getting together on Wednesday evening and I thought I might extend the invitation to join us.

    Hope all is well with you!

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