On this day: the burning of Drury Lane Theatre

The third theatre on London’s┬áDrury Lane burnt to the ground on the 24th of February, 1809, after only standing for fifteen years.

The painting, circa 1809, depicts the sky on fire from Westminster Bridge as the building collapsed.

The Burning of Drury Lane Theatre from Westminster Bridge circa 1809

The theatre’s owner, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, was famously seen drinking a glass of wine as the building burnt. He is said to have responded to baffled onlookers: “A man may surely be allowed to take a glass of wine by his own fireside.”

401px-Richard_Brinsley_Sheridan_1751_-_1816The Dramatic Works of Richard Brinsley Sheridan

The present day Theatre Royal, Drury Lane opened in 1812 and is today one of London’s most important theatres.