The Great Fire of Northampton
Everyone remembers the Great Fire of London, a huge conflagration that raged through the capital for three days during September 1666, burning over 13,000 buildings and destroying tens of thousands of homes. Far fewer people, however, know about the Great Fire of Northampton, a blaze of similar proportions that destroyed 700 of the 850 buildings in the town centre, including All Saints church.
A brief history of Northampton’s market square
Northampton received its first market charter in 1189, allowing markets and fairs to be held on the ground east of All Saints. A few centuries later, the markets moved to where you will find them today, in the market square. This is because Henry III had forbade the selling of goods in the churchyard of All Saints.
In 1530, the market square was paved, creating a space not unlike the one you see today in Northampton’s town centre. And for another century, Northampton’s market centre was a bustling hub of trade and commerce.
The Great Fire
On 20th September, 1675, the fire broke out. The event was caused by sparks from an open fire in a home on St. Mary’s street, near Northampton Castle. Within just a few hours, a strong wind had spread the blaze across the timbered buildings and thatched roofs of the market square, until almost the whole town was up in flames.
The fire completely destroyed the town centre and the market square, razing 80% of the area’s buildings. There were 11 deaths in total, but over 700 families were left homeless. Many people escaped the fire by making their way through Welsh House on the market square. In today’s money, the damage done to the area would have exceeded £12 million.
Once the blaze had subsided, King Charles II donated 1000 tonnes of timber from Salcey Forest to help rebuild All Saints church, and also reduced the tax burden on the town by half for the next seven years. A commemorative statue of the king stands on the portico of the rebuilt All Saints church.
Local people and businesses raised around £25,000 towards rebuilding the town centre, with a renewed focus on the market square. The streets were widened and buildings more spaced out in an attempt to stop the event for reoccurring.
The importance of flame retardant fabrics
While we might not all be living in wooden houses with thatched roofs, fire risks are still very much present in our homes today, no matter where we live. From carpets and curtains to pillows and bed sheets, it doesn’t take much for a small spark to latch on and become something more dangerous, which is why it’s important to make sure we buy the right products for our homes.
Here at Fraser James Blinds, we offer blinds in a variety of different flame-retardant fabrics to suit all kinds of homes. What’s more, all of our flame-retardant products are rigorously tested to ensure they adhere to the necessary fire safety standards, ensuring that the people of Northampton can sleep soundly knowing they’re fully protected.
Operating throughout the Northamptonshire and beyond, Fraser James Blinds are the go-to made-to-measure blinds suppliers in the region. We can offer you all the advice you need, so if you’re looking for the right flame-retardant blinds for your home or business, you won’t be left in the dark. For more information about the made-to-measure blinds that we offer throughout the region, get in touch with us today.