Between Sunday, 2 September 1666 and early Wednesday 5 September 1666, the Old City of London was almost completely destroyed by a devastating conflagration known ever after as The Great Fire of London. This tactic, plus the cessation of powerful, dry winds finally brought an end to the devastation. But London was, effectively, no more. This meant that property was destroyed before the fire reached it, but it also meant that the fire was, at last, stopped. 4 September 1666, 6am Read on for the key facts from the third day of the Great Fire of London. I have always wondered why it is that in our nation, particularly in areas where fire is a frequent and devastating impact, we still gladly and blithely accept the practice of building our homes and schools and churches and places of business out of easily flammable and readily combustible material? Today, we know London as a city of incredibly creative and beautiful brickwork and stone masonry, but in the late 17th Century, cheap and easy wood construction dominated. ( Log Out /  -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ( Log Out /  By the 1660s, London was by far the largest city in Britain, estimated at half a million inhabitants. Dave Fowler • History in Numbers • All third party trademarks are hereby acknowledged. And until 1997, when the recreated Globe Theater was constructed, these restrictions were rigidly enforced. John Evelyn, contrasting London to the Baroque magnificence of Paris in 1659, called it a "wooden, northern, and inartificial congestion of Houses", and expressed alarm about the fire hazards posed by the wood and the congestion. The fire was fiercely fueled by the fact that the vast majority of London’s buildings were made of wood. The technology to build fire-resistant structures is more than 5,000 years old, and in the past few millennia it has been improved. By "inartificial", Evelyn meant unplanned and makeshift, the result of organic growth and unregulated urban sprawl. 2 shillings – the cost of hiring a cart the day before the fire. San Antonio, Texas. The Great Fire of London happened 351 years ago last month. Great Fire of London, (September 2–5, 1666), the worst fire in London’s history. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. These special courts facilitated rapid reconstruction, though they left many unsatisfied. Why do we still build with so much fire fuel? Above: Map showing the extent of the fire at the close of Tuesday (arrow points to Pudding Lane, where the fire started). The Great Fire of London happened more than 350 years ago. The immediate and forceful response of London’s government in the wake of the fire has helped protect London ever since. Above: Map showing the extent of the fire at the close of Sunday (arrow points to Pudding Lane, where the fire started). The presence of so much ready fuel – the structures themselves – plus the additional effect of stores of good such as turpentine, pitch, hemp, and timber – all so necessary for a maritime economy – as well as enormous amounts of gunpowder which was inevitable in a great military capital, meant that the fire was able to burn with an unusual intensity: ingots of steel and bronze liquified in the heat and poured like water into gutters running into the Thames. 3 September 1666, during the day The fire was successfully held back at St Dunstan-in-the-East, thanks to the efforts of a group of schoolboys. London has suffered fires since 1666, of course. Read on for key facts from the first day of the Great Fire of London. NOTABLY, in the aftermath of the fire, London’s building codes – already strict “on paper” were strengthened and, more importantly, firmly enforced. Any new buildings in London were required to be constructed of stone or brick, with rooves of tile or slate. £2,350 – the value of gold, his life savings, that Pepys took with him (having already moved most of their possessions to safety).. 6:00 a.m. – the time the king evacuated Whitehall, leaving for Hampton Court. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. On Sunday, September 2, 1666, the fire began accidentally But the wisdom of building with fire-resistant materials was shown quite wise indeed. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Pepys, his wife and a young friend, Will Hewer, made their escape by boat to Woolwich. But King Charles II knew that England could not long stand without London in full working order – England was even then still engaged in a costly and dangerous war with The Netherlands. The King convened special courts to settle matters of land ownership and legal responsibilities. But given current events, it is perhaps pertinent and fitting to speak about this historical event as fires yet rage in California. No longer would wooden buildings be permitted; no longer would thatched rooves be allowed. So the time needed to effect a complete redesign of the City was out of the question. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. This topic is not inspired by a long past event on this date nor an especial anniversary. The fire was unprecedented both in scope and scale – more than 15,000 structures were consumed over an area of more than 700 acres within the ancient city which was at that time still bounded by its Roman walls built almost 1,500 years before. The Lord Mayor of London was unwilling to take action against the fire, and though it was contrary to tradition and law, ultimately King Charles II commanded the creation of fire breaks which required that rows of houses and shops and warehouses be pulled down or, ultimately, blown up with gunpowder. Jamie Rawson Some visionaries such as the remarkable architect Sir Christopher Wren proposed a complete redesign of London and a rebuilding that would utterly modernize the ancient city. ( Log Out /  With this post, I depart from my usual practice of noting an anniversary or similar connection to an event. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. It destroyed a large part of the City of London, including most of the civic buildings, old St. Paul’s Cathedral, 87 parish churches, and about 13,000 houses. But given current events, it is perhaps pertinent and fitting to speak about this historical event as fires yet rage in California. Read all the most fascinating facts and figures about Thursday, the final day of the Great Fire of London 1666, from the major to the minor details. The Great Fire of London happened 351 years ago last month. £40 – the cost of hire on the Monday of the fire, as their owners exploited the opportunity to make money from London’s wealthier residents, desperate to get their valuables away from the flames. London had been a Roman settlement for four centuries and had become pro… Though London went up in flames several times as The Blitz was waged, the flames were quickly and efficiently contained. 2:00 a.m. – the time Pepys was woken by his wife, reporting new cries of “Fire!”. £11 – equivalent cost in modern money . Change ). The Old City was a black and reeking ground. 5:00 a.m. – the approximate time that the King Charles II and the Duke of York rode through the city to give encouragement to people fighting the fire. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. More than 80 churches, in those days the center of neighborhood life, and more than 13,000 homes were gone. There was no way to escape vast fire damage during The Blitz when German bombers carpeted whole neighborhoods of the great city with incendiary explosives. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. ( Log Out /  Post was not sent - check your email addresses!

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