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What happened on September 2, 1666?

September 2, 2021

“In the early morning hours, the Great Fire of London breaks out in the house of King Charles II’s baker on Pudding Lane near London Bridge. It soon spread to Thames Street, where warehouses filled with combustibles and a strong easterly wind transformed the blaze into an inferno. When the Great Fire finally was extinguished on September 6, more than four-fifths of London was destroyed. Miraculously, only 16 people were known to have died.”

“The Great Fire of London was a disaster waiting to happen. London of 1666 was a city of medieval houses made mostly of oak timber. Some of the poorer houses had walls covered with tar, which kept out the rain but made the structures more vulnerable to fire. Streets were narrow, houses were crowded together, and the firefighting methods of the day consisted of neighborhood bucket brigades armed with pails of water and primitive hand pumps. Citizens were instructed to check their homes for possible dangers, but there were many instances of carelessness.”

From: History

Painting of the Fire of London, September 1666, Artist unknown

The devastation was immense, yet it paved the way for the newly imagined city of London by Christopher Wren, including the new St. Paul’s Cathedral, arguably Wren’s most famous structure.

Medieval St. Paul’s Cathedral
“New” St. Paul’s
Wren’s plan for London

See more Christopher Wren buildings here.

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