The Great Fire of London started on the Sunday morning of September 2, 1666.
By time the London fire was put under control, some five days later, the city was almost totally destroyed.
Over 13,200 houses, 87 churches, 6 chapels, 44 Company Halls, the Royal Exchange, various prisons, and four bridges were destroyed in the Great Fire. Over 100,000 people were made homeless. Although it is known that the fire started in Pudding Lane, there has been some speculation as to the exact cause of the fire. It seems that the fire started in or around the house and shop of baker Thomas Farynor. These days the house is marked by a monument.
The first warning of the fire was around 1 a.m. the morning. Most of London was sound asleep at this time. The fire moved quickly from Pudding Lane to Thames Street which was lined with warehouses packed with highly flammable materials.
Several hours later the fire was half way across the old London Bridge. By the next day Fleet Street, Old Bailey, newgate and Ludgate Hillwere in ashes. It was up to King Charles to take charge of the impending disaster. He ordered groups to start tearing down houses to create a fire break. But the fire was moving to fast and gunpowder was eventually used to blow up houses.
The fire seem to burn out at the Temple Church near Holborn Bridge, but flawed up again the next day before finally being put out. One of the most interesting facts of the fire was that there was only six official deaths from the Great Fire of London. If there was a positive to come out of this tragedy it was that the bubonic plague (Black Death) which had ravaged London the previous year was almost eradicated with the death of most of the London rat population.
In 1940, the German Luftwaffe's fire-raid on London became known as The Second Great Fire of London.
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