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Great Fire of London

At one o'clock in the morning on 2 September 1666, Thomas Farriner was asleep over his bakehouse in Pudding Lane, in the City of London, when a servant rushed in to wake him. The bedroom was full of smoke and the staircase was already in flames. He and his wife and daughter , with the servant, escaped through a small window and watched the blaze spread to his neighbours timber houses. The Great Fire of London had begun.

What started as a small small fire raged for four days as an enormous fire, destroying two thirds of the City: 13,200 houses, 430 streets and 89 churches. The fire could be seen from forty miles round the capital.

There are only six recorded deaths relating to the fire, but the rebuilding work took over 50 years.

Fire of London

How do we know so much about the Fire of London?

The reason why we know so many details about the fire is that two men who were alive at that time kept diaries in which they described the dramatic events. The names of these two people were Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn.

Fire Prevention

To prevent such a disaster happening again King Charles ll commanded that all new houses in London should be of stone and brick not wood. Christopher Wren constructed St Paul's Cathedral (between 1675 and 1711) as well as many churches.

image: St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral built by Sir Christopher Wren.


Not long after the fire a momument, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was erected between 1671 and 1677, as the City's memorial to the Great Fire in 1666.

Find out more here

image: Monument
Sir Christopher Wren's flame-topped Monument

Also on this day......

2 September 490 BC - First Marathon run

During the Persian Wars, Phidippides, an Anthenian, ran from Marathon to Sparta (26 miles) on 2 September to seek help in repelling the invading Persian army. However, help was unavailable due to religious law and so he ran the 26 miles back to Marathon on 4 September. Without Spartan help, the Athenians defeated the Persians at the Battle of the Marathon on 9 September.

2 September 1945 - V-J Day (Victory of Japan):
Japanese surrender to the Allies, ending WW2.


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