9 facts about the Great Fire of London that are more interesting than what you learned at school
Today marks the 350th anniversary of the start of Great Fire of London. The fire began in a bakery in Pudding Lane and burned for three days, destroying countless homes and businesses.
Here are some facts you may not have known about the blaze.
1. The flames killed six people.
Despite the fire destroying 13,000 homes and businesses, it directly killed only six people. Many more residents died later as an indirect result of the blaze.
2.The fire occurred in a tiny part of London compared with today.
It stretched from Temple in the west, reaching almost to the Tower of London in the east. That's 80% of London back then, but only a fraction of it 350 years later.
3.The cost to the city was £10,000,000.
This figure has been worked out by the London Fire Brigade. Considering the annual income of London at the time was £12,000, it is a considerable bill. Debtors' prisons were full of people whose fortunes had been ruined.
4.The King's brother helped to put out the fire.
Buildings has to be pulled down and buckets and water squirters were used to help extinguish the blaze.
5. It wasn't London's first major fire.
A number of fires resulted in deaths from the time of Boudica, in around 60AD, and onward. The most serious blaze raged in Southwark, south-east London, in 1212. Estimates put the death toll at 3,000.
6. It had been predicted.
Spookily, just a year before the fire, King Charles II had expressed his concern that the wooden houses and narrow streets could lead to a deadly fire.
7. The Lord Mayor could have prevented the fire spreading.
Thomas Bludworth said the situation wasn't that serious and went back to bed, leaving the fire to spread and raze parts of the capital.
8. Schoolchildren halted the blaze at St Dunstan-in-the-East.
Schoolboys used buckets of water to save the church and surrounding houses, which were damaged but salvageable.
9. Gunpowder was used to stop the fire spreading.
As the fire intensified, houses needed to be demolished to keep them from catching light. Gunpowder was used to hurry the process.