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The great fire of London

 
   
 
The Great Fire of London began on the night of September 2, 1666, as a small fire on Pudding Lane, in the bakeshop of Thomas Farynor, baker to King Charles II. At one o'clock in the morning, a servant woke to find the house aflame, and the baker and his family escaped, but a fear-struck maid perished in the blaze.                               
  At this time, most London houses were of wood and pitch construction, dangerously flammable, and it did not take long for the fire to expand. The fire leapt to the hay and feed piles on the yard of the Star Inn at Fish Street Hill, and spread to the Inn. The strong wind that blew that night sent sparks that next ignited the Church of St. Margaret, and then spread to Thames Street, with its riverside warehouses and wharves filled with food for the flames: hemp, oil, tallow, hay, timber, coal and spirits along with other combustibles. The citizen firefighting brigades had little success in containing the fire with their buckets of water from the river. By eight o'clock in the morning, the fire had spread halfway across London Bridge. The only thing that stopped the fire from spreading to Southwark, on the other side of the river, was the gap that had been caused by the fire of 1633.Although the loss of life was minimal, some sources say only sixteen perished, the magnitude of the property loss was staggering. Some 430 acres, as much as 80% of the city proper was destroyed, including 13,000 houses, 89 churches, and 52 Guild Halls. Thousands of citizens found themselves homeless and financially ruined.The Great Fire, and the fire of 1676, which destroyed over 600 houses south of the river, changed the face of London forever. The one positive effect of the Great Fire was that the plague, which had ravished London since 1665, diminished greatly, due to the mass death of the plague-carrying rats in the blaze.


 
 
 
 



 
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