Natural and Man-Made Disasters


How much damage was done by the Great Fire of London?

The fire, which began early in the morning on Sunday, September 2, 1666, and burned for four days and nights, consumed four-fifths of the city (which was then walled), plus 63 acres lying just outside the city walls. The blaze began in Pudding Lane near London Bridge and quickly spread through crowded wooden houses to the Thames wharf warehouses. The destruction included London’s Guildhall, the Custom House, the Royal Exchange, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Additionally, 44 livery company halls, 86 churches, and more than 13,000 houses were destroyed.

Though the fire was unquestionably disastrous, London soon rebuilt and became one of Europe’s most modern cities. The fire also destroyed thousands of old buildings where lice-infested rats had lived—they were partly responsible for spreading the plague through the English city.


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