The Fatal Conflagration of the Custom House on the morning of the 12th February 1814
Medium: Aquatint with etching, coloured
View of the Custom House on fire on 12th February 1814. Three years later it was replaced by a new building by David Laing, surveyor of buildings to the Board of Customs. A customs house was where the monarch levied customs duty, a tax on good entering the country. As London was a large port city, with a rich trade from all over the world, the customs house was especially important. There had been a customs house in London since 1275, but it was rebuilt many times, including by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in1666, although this was damaged in 1714 by a gunpowder explosion and rebuilt by Thomas Ripley on Wren's foundations..