In the early hours of September 2, 1666 a fire began at a bakehouse in Pudding Lane. Sparks from the bakehouse showered surrounding buildings, igniting stable materials out in a yard at the Star Inn in Fish Street. Soon after the Church of St. Margaret caught alight and fire spread to the buildings in Thames Street, riverside warehouses packed with products like timber, coal, oils, tar, spirits and other combustibles. London's medieval streets were narrow and the buildings close, most constructed from timber, wattle and daub, plaster and pitch and filled with the equally flammable essentials of everyday life straw, tallow and firewood. Strong winds both fed the fire and carried the sparks further and further. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman City Wall. It threatened, but did not reach, the aristocratic district of Westminster, Charles II's Palace of Whitehall, and most of the suburban slums. It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St. Paul's Cathedral and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City's 80,000 inhabitants. The fire lasted from Sunday, September 2nd until to Wednesday, September 5th, 1666. Caption of this image reads People took to the river in an attempt to escape the flames.
March 13th, 2013
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