The Great Fire of London set in motion changes in the capital which laid the foundations for organised firefighting in the future... (3 pagine formato doc)
Untitled The Great Fire of London - 1666 It is likely that London has had some form of firefighting from as early as the time of the Romans.
However, after the Roman armies left Britain in 415 AD, any organised attempts to fight fires were abandoned. Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, King William the Conqueror insisted that all fires should be put out at night to reduce the risk of fire in houses with straw 'carpets' and thatched roofs. William's law of couvre-feu (literally - cover fire) became the modern term curfew. Even so, a huge fire destroyed a large part of the city in 1212 and was said to have killed some 3,000 people. This fire was known as the Great Fire of London - until September 2nd 1666.
A September Sunday....... On Sunday morning, the 2nd September 1666, the destruction of medieval London began. Within 5 days the city which Shakespeare had known was destroyed by fire. An area of one and a half miles by half a mile lay in ashes; 373 acres inside the city walls and 63 acres outside, 87 churches destroyed (including St. Paul's Cathedral) and 13,200 houses. In all this destruction, it is amazing that only 6 people are definitely known to have been killed. However, it seems likely that the actual death toll was much higher. In destroying the close packed houses and other buildings it is also likely that the fire finally put an end to the Great Plague that had devastated the city in the previous year - killing 17,440 out of the population of 93,000. The fire started in the house and shop of Thomas Farynor, baker to King Charles II in Pudding Lane (the site of Farynor's house is marked today by the Monument). Farynor forgot to douse the fire in his oven on the previous night and embers set light to the nearby stacked firewood. By one o'clock in the morning, three hours after Farynor had gone to bed, the house and shop were well alight. Farynor's assistant woke finding the house full of smoke and the roused the household. Farynor, his wife and daughter and one servant escaped by climbing through an upstairs window and along the roof tops. The maid was too frightened to climb along the roof and stayed in the house - becoming the first victim of the fire. Sparks from the burning house fell on hay and straw in the yard of the Star Inn at Fish Street Hill. The London of 1666 was a city of half timbered and pitch covered medieval buildings, mostly with thatched rooves. These buildings were extreme fire risks and ignited very easily. In the strong winds that blew that morning, the sparks spread rapidly, setting fire to rooves and houses as they fell. From the Star Inn, the fire engulfed St. Margaret's church and then entered Thames Street. Here there were warehouses and wharves packed with flammable materials - oil, spirits, tallow, hemp, straw, coal etc. By now the fire was far too fierce to be fought with the crude hand operated devices that were all that was available. By 8.00am, seven hours after the fire had started, the flames were