A fire breaks out at the King's bakery in Pudding Lane. The baker, Thomas Farriner and family escape from a top floor window but the maid perishes.
A biography of the Mayor, Thomas Bludworth.
London diarist, Samuel Pepys is woken by his maid servant to see the flames. He doesn’t think this fire is anything to worry about and returns to bed.
The Diary of Samuel Pepys website, September 2nd 1666.
Over 300 houses are on fire. Thames wharves are in flames, as is the north end of London Bridge. Strong easterly gales are driving flames...
The London Bridge Museum website has information on an earlier fire to hit London Bridge.
There are rumours the fire was started by the Dutch and French. This could be an invasion…
Heritage History describes the Anglo-Dutch relationship of the time and the Second Anglo-Dutch war which was taking place when the great fire happened.
A firebreak on London Bridge prevents the fire spreading south of the river. But the water wheels under London Bridge, that pump water to the city, are burning. It's a disaster for fire-fighting efforts.
For hundreds of years London Bridge was the only road crossing of the River Thames in London. The medieval bridge lasted for six hundred years and was key to London's development.
The Royal Barge is heading down the Thames from Whitehall. King Charles and his brother James, Duke of York are viewing the destruction.
The Royal Family website biography of James, Duke of York.
Charles is on the frontline. He’s overridden the Mayor and ordered troops into the city and for buildings to be pulled down.
The Royal Family website biography of Charles II.
22 streets on fire. Nine churches gone. Nearly 1,000 homes destroyed. Fire showing no sign of stopping.
A summary of St Mary le Bow’s history - including its destruction in the fire.
Day Two. Foreigners are being blamed for the fire and are now being attacked in the street. A rumour is spreading that the Pudding Lane bakery was owned by a Dutchman. Looting is breaking out too.
Until the Seventeenth Century, most buildings in London were built from wattle and daub, as explored in this History Channel video.
Booksellers and printers are storing their goods in the crypt of Old St. Paul’s Cathedral. The books stored are worth millions. Surely they'll be safe in the stone crypt.
Information on what St Paul's had become, prior to the Great Fire.
The fire continues unabated. The atmosphere in London is full of smoke and panic.
The first Bedlam was destroyed during the Great Fire of London and was rebuilt in Moorfelds. The second Bedlam was of such a grand stature that it was called the 'palace for the insane'.
King's brother, James, Duke of York, has been given total control of the city. He’s patrolling streets with his guards, rescuing foreigners, encouraging the firefighters and keeping order.
London Fire Brigade:how people on the streets fought the fire.
Flames devour Lombard Street and the Royal Exchange. The fire creeps west towards St. Pauls and east towards Tower of London. It’s full of gunpowder...
Pepys’ Diary: "Lord! to see how the streets and the highways are crowded with people running and riding, and getting of carts at any rate to fetch away things" - 3rd Sept 1666
Day Three. Both the King and Duke of York are up to their ankles in water manning fire pumps, for hours on end.
Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum's history of the manual fire pump.
Philospher, John Locke records in his diary a dim red light on the horizon. The fire is visible 50 miles away in Oxford!
An extensive John Locke Biography from the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy.
Fire is still travelling down Tower Street and closing in on the Tower of London. Barrels of gunpowder are being used to blow up houses and protect it.
Pepys’ Diary September 4: "Now begins the practice of blowing up of houses in Tower-streete, those next the Tower, which at first did frighten people more than anything, but it stopped the fire where it was done, it bringing down the houses to the ground in the same places they stood, and then it was easy to quench what little fire was in it, though it kindled nothing almost"
St Paul's catches alight. John Evelyn, a noted diarist, writes, "The stones of Paul's flew like [grenades]... the melting lead running down the streets in a stream and the very pavements glowing with fiery redness".
A history of Old St Paul's Cathedral.
Day Four: The wind has dropped, and after an exhausting and devasting three days, the worst appears to be over...
Contemporary newspaper reports of the Fire.
Wind slackens and firebreaks start to work. Fire is finally under control. 373 acres decimated. Over 80 churches and 13,000 homes are destroyed. More than 80,000 homeless.
After the Great Fire, London would need rebuilding. Despite masterplans by different architects, its medieval street plan would remain.