|The Great Fire of London (September 1666)|
|The fire destroyed 80% of the City|
|Charred wood from the Great Fire. © NMM|
On 2 September, a fire broke out in a baker's shop in Pudding Lane, close to London Bridge. It soon spread to neighbouring wooden buildings in the densely-packed medieval streets.
|A plan of London as in Queen Elizabeth's day and the south prospect of London as it appeared when it lay in ruins after the fire in 1666. © NMM|
|The areas devastated by fire in 1666. © NMM|
|Sir Christopher Wren. © NMM|
The Great Fire meant London had to be rebuilt. Christopher Wren designed 51 new churches for the City, and built a new St Paul's Cathedral, which was the largest in Europe.
Other changes included the first moves towards organised firefighting: old wooden houses were replaced by brick ones and owners began to insure their premises against fire.
Insurance companies were allowed to provide fire assurances. They introduced new fire engines and firefighters were recruited from the watermen who worked on the Thames.
Much of the information we have about the Great Fire is from Samuel Pepys, who kept a diary of the event. He wrote:
The Great Fire cost London an estimated £10 million. At the time, the City's annual income was only £12,000.
In 1986, 320 years after the event, the Baker's Company issued an apology for the fire.
|Sunday 2 September 1666||Fire broke out in a bakery in Pudding Lane, it quickly spread through the nearby streets|
|Monday 3 September 1666||The southern half of the City burned, Londoners left their homes in a mass exodus|
|Tuesday 4 September 1666||The fire burned westward and northward destroying two great buildings: the Guildhall and Old St Paul's cathedral|
|Wednesday 5 September 1666||The wind dropped and the fire lost intensity and broke up|
|Thursday 6 September 1666||The last of the fires were finally extinguished|