The destruction

The destruction

Historical print

In 1698, a major fire ends the ceremonial importance of Banqueting House.

A major fire in 1698 brought to an end the days of ceremony an grandeur of the Banqueting House. Although new regulations were introduced in 1662 requiring that for every chimney there should be a leather bucket filled with water, the palace was nearly burnt down in 1691.

A ‘dismal sight’

Seven years later, on 4 January 1698, some linen left to dry by a charcoal fire caught light and within five hours almost the whole palace was destroyed; only the Banqueting House and the Whitehall and Holbein gates survived.

A contemporary account of the fire records: 'it is a dismal sight to behold such a glorious, famous, and much renowned palace reduced to a heap of rubbish and ashes, which the day before might justly contend with any palace in the world for riches, nobility, honour and grandeur'.


Lead image Whitehall Palace from St James's Park attributed to Hendrick Danckerts c1675.

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