The Great Fire of London
The great fire of London started in Pudding Lane on 2 September and spread rapidly westwards towards Fleet Street. It almost reached the Tower of London in the east.
The fire started at a time when Britain was undergoing great upheaval as the country faced the English Civil War.
There was an uprising in a group of clever men, who were keen to explore on their ideas and share them out. They believed that London’s current structure which consisted majorly of timber was not a reflection of the age. The fire thus opened opportunities for modern capital.
Basing on Mathematical calculations, they thought a spacious and well-planned city that would rival the ancient Rome.
Men of Science
As the embers were still being consumed, the London intellectuals drafted the new city. One of the famous plan was made by Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren and John Evelyn of the Royal Society.
Wren and Evelyn imagined a city of piazzas, based around the Royal Exchange and St Paul’s Cathedral while Hooke’s design was a grid-iron plan drawing inspiration from ancient world cities.
Unfortunately for Wren and the other brave men, their plan was rejected. The people were not ready to let go of their land and thus the medieval plan was restored. But the king gave a go ahead for innovative architectural ventures.
The fire in figures
What did the great fire of London destroy?
- 86 churches
- ST Paul’s Cathedral
- 13,200 houses
- 50 livery company halls
The aftermath is that it left 70,000 to 80,000 homeless while causing an area 436 acres to waste. This amounted to a loss of EUR 9m which is equivalent to today’s EUR 1.35bn.