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What caused the Great Fire of London?

People rescue their possessions from the Great FireOn 2nd September 1666, a fire broke out in a bakery in Pudding Lane in the City of London. Fanned by a breeze, the fire quickly spread throughout the whole city. Apart from pulling down buildings to create "firebreaks", there was no way of stopping it. The fire raged for four days until it finally burned itself out. More than 13,000 buildings, including St Paul’s Cathedral, were destroyed. Around 70,000 of the City of London’s 80,000 citizens had lost their homes in the blaze.



London Bridge before the Great Fire. The bridge was dense with houses, although the open space between buildings on the bridge...Read More >>London Bridge before the Great Fire. The bridge was dense with houses, although the open space between buildings on the bridge would act as a firebreak. This stopped the flames from spreading from one wooden building to the next.

London in the 1600s

In the 1600s London was by far the largest city in Britain. The City, in the very heart of London, was an overcrowded warren of narrow alleys. Many of the houses were built with wood and had thatched roofing. They leant out over the narrow streets, almost touching the houses opposite. 

London had had a long drought in the summer of 1666. As a result, its wooden buildings were tinder dry.

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