2 September 2023 is the 357th anniversary of the Great Fire of London.
The Great Fire of London started on Sunday, 2 September 1666 in a baker’s shop on Pudding Lane belonging to Thomas Farynor (Farriner). It burned through London for four days, finally ending on Wednesday 5th September 1666.
436 acres of London were destroyed, including 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, The Royal Exchange, Guildhall and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
There was no national fire service at that time, so the general public had to throw buckets of water to try and put the fire out.
It was decided that a building should be erected to serve as a permanent reminder of the Great Fire, and this was the 202-foot Monument, built between 1671 and 1677, which is situated 202 feet west of the spot where the fire started on Pudding Lane.
A permanent reminder of the Great Fire of 1666, the Monument commemorates one of the most significant events in London’s history. This has 311 steps to climb to the top, for a view over London.
Samuel Pepys kept a diary of the events of the Great Fire, and of his personal involvement.
The enormous losses suffered after the Great Fire of London led to the establishment of fire insurance, where people paid a fee to an insurance company to insure their property against damage. The first insurance company, called the Fire Office, was formed in 1680 by Nicolas Barbon.
To protect the properties of their customers and to reduce their own losses most London insurance companies employed up to 30 Thames watermen to put out fires.
These would effectively be the first ‘Fire Brigades’.
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