2 September – On the day

The Great Fire of London breaks out in the house of a baker on Pudding Lane near London Bridge.

It soon spread to Thames Street, where warehouses filled with combustible materials and a strong easterly wind transformed the blaze into an inferno.

This is a disaster waiting to happen. London of 1666 was a city of medieval houses made mostly of oak timber. Some of the poorer houses had walls covered with tar to keep out the rain. Streets were narrow, houses were crowded together, and the firefighting methods of the day consisted of neighbourhood ‘bucket brigades’.

When the Great Fire was finally extinguished on September 6, more than four-fifths of London was destroyed. Miraculously, only 16 fatalities were recorded.