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On This Day… Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Burns Down!

Written by: George Chittenden : 21 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 29th June back in 1613 when the Globe Theatre in London, showcase for Shakespeare’s plays, burned to the ground. The fire began during a performance of Henry VIII and is believed to have been caused when a theatrical cannon misfired and ignited the theatre’s wood beams and thatching. The original Globe theatre was built in 1599 and stood near today’s Southwark Bridge. It was a triple-storey, open-air amphitheatre that could house around 3,000 spectators. Thankfully on the day of the fire, only one man was injured when he caught on fire, but apparently his flaming breeches were eventually put out using a handy bottle of ale.

The fire didn’t stop the fun for very long though, and the theatre was rebuilt the following year, in 1614. However, just like all of London’s theatres, the Globe was shut by the Puritans in 1642. Theatre in those days was seen as a den of vice, and it’s fair to say the crowds were rowdier back then than they are today. Nowadays of course London houses a modern reconstruction of the theatre that opened in 1997 and is based on the original design as closely as possible.

The original Globe Theatre in London

The original Globe Theatre in London

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