The Great Fire
The Great Fire began in a bakery owned by the King’s baker, Thomas Farriner on Pudding Lane on September 2nd 1666, just 202 feet from the site of The Monument today. The bakery ovens were not properly extinguished and the heat created sparks, which set alight Thomas’s wooden home.
At that time most buildings in the City were made of wood, and that, coupled with a dry summer, meant the flames spread with pace throughout the City. The fire raged for four days and during that time one third of all buildings in London were destroyed, 86% of the City was burnt to the ground and 130,000 people were made homeless.
Fortunately there was limited loss of life during the Great Fire. However, the maid who discovered the fire is one of those that sadly perished.
The Great Fire spread rapidly and most Londoners thought only of escaping – they went to the river where they bundled their goods onto boats, or they ventured to fields outside London (Moorfields) where they set up shelter.
With no fire service to call on, the extinguishing of the flames was left to Londoners, they did acquire the services of soldiers, but they had little resources with only buckets of water, water squirts and fire hooks to hand. The plan to halt the fire hinged on creating a gap between the houses so the fire couldn't spread, but the strong winds meant the fire jumped across the gap, and raged on. Eventually the fire was stopped on the 4th day after creating widespread damage across the City of London.