On this day…

eyam_church_derbyshire_1890 england victorian britain

The church in Eyam, circa 1890.

Tomorrow the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, England recognises “Plague Sunday”.

The day remembers the decision of the village’s reverend and his wife – in 1665 – to convince the plague-stricken residents to barricade themselves in so that the disease wouldn’t spread to other villages in the area.

Hundreds of people died, but other communities survived.

Below is a picture from last year, when we visited the old well on a hilltop outside the village, which is where others would come to leave the people of Eyam food.

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Christopher Wren’s plan for London

Following the Great Fire that destroyed much of London in early September 1666, Christopher Wren put forward a plan for the rebuilding of the city. It was rejected.

This is a dated 1744 plan, which is allegedly a copy of the original.

Though aspects of the plan would not have been feasible, had it been accepted and used it would have significantly modernised London.

An extremely scarce 1744 map of London showing Sir Christopher Wren's plan for reconstructing the city following the 1666 Great Fire of London.

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.