The 1666 fire that raged on for almost five days and left more than 85% of the population homeless. Here are 11 interesting facts about The Great Fire of London…
Buildings were mainly made of wood at this time in London. They were also packed together tightly across narrow streets. Combined with the strong easterly wind, the conditions were perfect for the fire to spread rapidly.
The Puddling Lane house of Thomas Farriner is where the fire started. It is believed a spark from the oven had fallen into a pile of fuel at 1 am in the morning. Most of the people in the house were able to clamber to safety. Unfortunately, one of the maids could not escape and was the first victim of the Great Fire.
Most people tried to gather as many belongings as they could and fled to the river, trying to get out safely, while others rushed through the gates of London to the fields outside.
Samual Pepys is the person that famously first informed the King of the fire, and who recommended that the homes its path be pulled down to halt the fires’ progress.
The fire threatened the Tower of London, but extra fire engines were ordered to be sent there to prevent the tower’s destruction. The wealthiest citizens of the city stored their valuable belongings in the Tower for safekeeping.
13,200 houses and 87 churches, including St Paul’s Cathedral, was destroyed in the Great Fire. The church took nearly 50 years to rebuild.
The temperature of the blaze hit 1,700°C.
Surprisingly, only six people have been recorded to have died from the Great Fire of London. However, there are no records of the deaths of working-class people. Therefore, the death toll is very likely to be significantly higher.
After the blaze, the city was built with brick and stone instead of wood, and legal reforms were introduced. Some believe that the Great Fire was an important key that spurred long-lasting improvements which made London the city it is today.
The Great Fire had unfortunate timing, as the city was still recovering from the last outbreak of plague, which claimed over 15% of the city’s population.
To commemorate the Great Fire, a monument was built. It’s a Doric column and is located near London Bridge. It’s simply known as ‘The Monument’.
Do you know any interesting facts about the Great Fire of London that we’ve missed? Share them with us in the comments section below!