Thought by many at the time to be a disaster waiting to happen, the Great Fire of London is probably one of the most well-known events in the history of Stuart England. It began its spread of terror on the evening of September 1, 1666.
The London of 1666 consisted largely of houses constructed from oak timbers, which were covered in flammable tar in order to keep out the rain. The houses were crammed together in narrow streets, where the only real firefighters were neighborhood teams of “bucket brigades” whose only tools of the trade were leather water pails and primitive hand-operated water pumps. The Great Fire of London was said by many at the time to be an event of inevitability, and London’s citizens had been ordered to check their homes for possible fire risks.
Here are ten incredibly bizarre facts that surround the Great Fire of London.
10. It Was the Second Major Catastrophe to Hit the City within Twelve Months
The Great Fire of London began just as the city was starting to recover and rebuild itself from the horrendous effects of The Great Plague of London. Just a year earlier, the city had tragically lost an estimated 100,000 people (almost a quarter of its population) from an outbreak of bubonic plague, which at its peak was claiming as many as 8000 victims a week.
The Great Plague of 1665, originally caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium, usually transmitted through the bites of infected rat fleas, was thankfully the last widespread outbreak of bubonic plague in England. It was not until February 1666 that the city was once again considered to be adequately safe for the return of King Charles II and his entourage.