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Officially, the city recorded 68,596 deaths from the Great Plague, and the true death toll may have exceeded 100,000. After peaking in September 1665, the city’s plague deaths began to taper off that winter. The Great Fire of London happened in 1666. “In a world lit only by fire, people were always setting fire to their houses,” Tinniswood says of England in the mid-1600s. A year later on September 3rd 1666 the Great Fire of London started. The King immediately ordered that all the houses in the path of the fire should be pulled down to create a ‘fire-break’. King Charles gave the fire fighters a generous purse of 100 guineas to share between them. All Rights Reserved. In the upper left-hand side the mythical phoenix suggests that London too would rise from the ashes. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Only one fifth of London was left standing! What was more unusual was for someone to start a fire in his house that set over 13,000 other houses on fire—which is what Farriner accidentally did. The overcrowded and disease ridden streets were destroyed and a new London emerged. Not for the last time would a nation honour its brave fire fighters. St Paul’s Cathedral was among the destroyed. What was more unusual was for someone to start a fire in his house that set over 13,000 other houses on fire—which is what Farriner accidentally did. Plague was one of the hazards of life in Britain from its dramatic appearance in 1348 with the Black Death. It was sometime later however that it was realised that he couldn’t have started it, as he was not in England at the time! Antibiotic treatment is extremely effective against the plague. This means that even if the fire did drive out rats in the 436 acres it burned, it didn’t spread far enough to drive out all of the plague-spreading rats in greater London. The Bills of Mortality began to be published regularly in 1603, in which year 33,347 deaths were recorded from plague. The decline has also been ascribed to quarantine , but effective quarantine was actually not established until 1720. Panic began to spread through the city. Between then and 1665, only four years had no recorded cases. A monument was erected in Pudding Lane on the spot where the fire began and can be seen today, where it is a reminder of those terrible days in September 1666. Fires were quite a common occurrence in those days and were soon quelled. Virtually all the civic buildings had been destroyed as well as 13,000 private dwellings, but amazingly only six people had died. Even in the 21st century, the plague remains a serious disease. In memory of Sir Christopher there is an inscription in the Cathedral, which reads, “Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice”. The King himself joined the fire fighters, passing buckets of water to them in an attempt to quell the flames, but the fire raged on. The people of London who had managed to survive the Great Plague in 1665 must have thought that the year 1666 could only be better, and couldn’t possibly be worse! On Sunday, September 2, 1666, the fire began accidentally Miraculously, only 16 people were known to have died. A woman might piss it out!”. The people of London who had managed to survive the Great Plague in 1665 must have thought that the year 1666 could only be better, and couldn’t possibly be worse! A fire started on September 2nd in the King’s bakery in Pudding Lane near London Bridge. Samuel Pepys, who was a clerk of the Privy Seal, hurried off to inform King Charles II. This era can be examined by studying London itself, events of the plague, and the incident of the fire. By the time King Charles II fled the city in July, the plague was killing about a thousand people a week. The above map, said to be a reproduction of the original, shows Sir Christopher Wren’s plan for reconstructing the city following the Great Fire of London. (Many plague deaths had occurred in the poorest parishes outside the city walls.) 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. Though most of the people who died during the Great Plague lived in London, the plague also killed people in other areas of England. In 1593, there were 15,003 deaths, 1625 saw 41,313 dead, between 1640 and 1646 came 11,000 deaths, culminating in 3,597 for 1647. READ MORE: Pandemics That Changed History, “I was raised with that myth,” says Adrian Tinniswood, a senior research fellow in history at the University of Buckingham, England, and author of By Permission of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire. Great Fire of London, (September 2–5, 1666), the worst fire in London ’s history. The fire soon took hold: 300 houses quickly collapsed and the strong east wind spread the flames further, jumping from house to house. The solid line shows the total deaths and the broken line deaths attributed to plague. More than 7,000 people died in one week. In successive years of the 17th century, London suffered two terrible disasters. “In a world lit only by fire, people were always setting fire to their houses,” Tinniswood says of England in the mid-1600s. On April 30 th, 1665 Samuel Pepys wrote “Great fears of the sickenesse here in the City, it being said that two or three houses are already shut up. The acres of lead on the roof melted and poured down on to the street like a river, and the great cathedral collapsed. Who were the ‘Quake doctors’, how do you cure warts and what was…. When the Great Fire finally was extinguished on September 6, more than four-fifths of London was destroyed. The fire swept through the warren of streets lined with houses, the upper stories of which almost touched across the narrow winding lanes. Absolute chaos reigned, as often happens today, as thousands of ‘sightseers’ from the villages came to view the disaster. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.

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