The Great Fire of London, 1666

On September 2, 1666, the five-day-long Great Fire of London started in a bakery on Pudding Lane. Considering the fact that the buildings back then were made mostly of wood and that London was particularly dry at the end of summer, the fire spread easily and quickly. Furthermore, a strong wind carried the flames northwards. However, three days later, the wind changed direction, and led the flames back towards the parts of London that were already burned down, which helped the fire die down. Due to some strategic “fire-breaks,” or places that were purposefully demolished so that the fire had nothing to fuel it, the fire was eventually extinguished.

Map of the Great Fire of London. The white portion of the map is where the fire spread.

In the end, the death toll was surprisingly low, with estimates as low as four or 16 people. In addition, the Black Plague was diminished in this area as many disease-carrying rats were killed in the flames. However, 430 acres were destroyed, along with 84 churches, and 13,000 houses.

London was rebuilt to be even greater (and less flammable). A monument stands today where the fire started in that small bakery on Pudding Lane.

The Great Fire of London Monument.

The Great Fire of London is a fascinating topic because of its effects- both good and bad- on London. Here is some more information on the subject:

http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/greatfire.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/civil_war_revolution/great_fire_01.shtml

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/great_fire_of_london_of_1666.htm

http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Explore-online/Pocket-histories/great-fire/default.htm

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