On this day: the Great Fire of London began

Great_Fire_LondonDetail of the Great Fire of London by an unknown painter, depicting the fire as it would have appeared on the evening of Tuesday, 4 September 1666.

A depiction of the fire as it was on the 4th of September, by an unknown painter.

The tallest flames surround St Paul’s.

Shortly after midnight on the second of September, 1666, a fire broke out in a bakery on Pudding Lane in the City of London (the part of London that falls in the Roman “Square Mile”). It quickly became out of control, and would go on to become the Great Fire, destroying the homes of 70 000 of the 80 000 inhabitants of the area, and wiping out the London of the Middle Ages.

Despite the size of the catastrophe, only six deaths were recorded. However, it is likely the deaths and disappearances of poorer people were never registered.

Copperplate_map_Bridewell Bridewell Palace London in the 1550s.

Bridewell Palace in the 1550s

Included in the destruction was St Paul’s Cathedral, as well as eighty-seven parish churches, the Royal Exchange, Bridewell Palace (which at the time was operating as a prison), and a number of city gates.

Old St Paul's Cathedral in London

Old St Paul’s

The fire burnt until the fifth of September.

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2 thoughts on “On this day: the Great Fire of London began

  1. […] the Great Fire that destroyed much of London in early September 1666, Christopher Wren put forward a plan for the […]

  2. […] A reproduction of the edition from the 3rd-10th of September, 1666. It reports on the Great Fire of London. […]

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