The Great Fire of London – Causes and Consequences

A short essay on the causes and consequences of the Great Fire of London in 1666

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  • Created on: 08-06-12 20:52
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Joanne Lucas ­ 8L1
The Great Fire of London ­ Causes and Consequences
In 1666 a major event rocked the capital which changed the face of London for
ever. The catastrophic fire destroyed the area surrounding Pudding Lane. The main
causes of the fire were the timing of the fire, the fact that the houses were built of
wood and had thatched roofs, and also that there had been a long hot summer leading
to a drought which in turn caused a water shortage in London.
The main consequences of the fire were that houses and the streets of the future
were built further apart and the homes were rebuilt in bricks and roof tiles.
The fire started at 2 o'clock in the morning on the 2nd September 1666 ­ when
everyone was fast asleep which meant that the fire was able to become uncontrollable
without people realising it. It was also very difficult to control the fire with the
primitive fire fighting equipment that they had available and the seriousness of this fire
wasn't realised quickly enough. Fires were commonplace and were normally
contained within a few houses. What made this fire different was a combination of
factors which included the water shortage, the time that it started and that people
didn't take it seriously quickly enough and in particular the person whose job it was to
alert others of fires had a hangover at the time.
In 1666 the houses were constructed out of wood, (a very combustible
material), and are now made out of bricks, tiles and other non flammable materials.
This makes the house less likely to catch alight and it was made necessary to have
some form of fire protection in every household
The streets and houses were built very close together and in some streets the
houses were almost touching each other so that neighbours, on the opposite side of
the street, could lean out of the window and shake each others hands!
The Great Fire of London began on Sunday 2nd September 1666 in the bakery
of Thomas Farriner who lived in Pudding Lane. The weather at the end of August had
been very hot and dry. A strong wind began to blow on the 2nd September. Farriner
kept wood in the bakery to keep his ovens burning during the day, he even said he
checked the ovens were out before he went to bed. One of his servants woke up
during the night to find the house on fire. Farriner, his wife, daughter and his other
servant escaped onto the roof of another house but the servant who found the fire
perished and became the first victim of the fire. In total 13,200 houses and 87
churches and Old St. Paul's Cathedral were destroyed in the fire and around 8 people
died (actual number not known, but under 10) although hundreds lost their lives to
cold, starvation and illnesses, some people only had the clothes they left their houses
in on the night of the fire for about 6 months too. Most people camped in the fields
around London until the city was rebuilt.

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Joanne Lucas ­ 8L1
Robert Hulbert, a Frenchman, confessed to having started the fire by throwing
a fireball into Thomas Farriner's bakery. He was put on trial, found guilty and
executed. Before he died he claimed that he met a mysterious man in Sweden, who
took him to the bakery and gave him a fireball and told him to throw it through the
window.…read more


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