What do you know about the Great Fire of London? Do you know who was the first person to die in the fire was? Or who was blamed for starting it?
Ten Great Fire of London Facts
- The Great Fire of London started in the early hours of the morning on Sunday 2nd September 1666. It lasted until the early evening of Thursday 6th September.
- It started in a bakery in Pudding Lane. The bakery was owned by Thomas Farriner and it appears that his maid failed to put out the ovens properly before she went to bed. Sparks from the hot oven set fire to the wooden frames of the bakery.
- Thomas and his family climbed to safety from an upstairs room but his maidservant didn’t make it. She was the first victim of the Great Fire.
- The fire spread so quickly because most of the buildings were made of wood and were built very close to one another. It also hadn’t rained for many weeks, so the buildings were particularly dry. There was also a strong east wind which fanned the flames.
- People tried to put the fire out by carrying water in leather buckets and using ‘squirts’. These were small hand pumps. They also used ‘fire hooks’ (long poles with hooks on the end) to pull some buildings down so as to create fire breaks and stop the fire spreading
- Many people left their homes and piled what they could save on to barrows which they pushed through the streets out onto the heaths. Many escaped across the river on barges and small boats.
- During the fire 13,200 houses were destroyed and 87 churches. Newgate Prison and Ludgate Prison were also destroyed. The great St. Pauls Cathedral was burnt to the ground. Even the lead on its roof melted because the fire was so hot.
- A French watchmaker called Robert Hubert told people he’d started the fire. He was arrested, tried and found guilty, even though parts of his story didn’t make sense. He was hanged on the 27th October 1666. After his death, it was revealed that he hadn’t even been in London on the day the fire had started.
- Thatched roofs were banned in London after the fire as they were believed to be one of the main reasons that the fire was able to spread so rapidly. The ban is still in place today and special permission had to be granted for The Globe Theatre ( a modern-day replica of Shakespeare’s original Globe theatre,) to have a thatched roof when it was built in 1997.
- A monument, designed by Sir Christopher Wren to commemorate the Great Fire of London is a 202 feet high column and is situated 202 feet away from the site of the bakery in Pudding Lane where the fire began. A spiral staircase of 311 steps inside the Monument allows you to access a viewing platform near the top, giving you a panoramic view of London.
The Great Fire of London Quiz
Try out this Great Fire of London Quiz from Goodeyedeers.
The children are introduced to a young boy called Henry who lived just around the corner from where the Great Fire of London started in Pudding Lane.
He leads them through the quiz.
Mike and David – Goodeyedeers