September 2, 1666: The Great Fire of London began in a baker’s shop in Pudding Lane. Thomas Farrinor, the baker to the king, failed to put out the fire that heated his oven and sparks from the oven started a building fire. The fire began on a Sunday and was not controlled until Wednesday, by which time 100,000 people were homeless and St Paul’s Cathedral and London Bridge had both been burned.

A first hand account of the Fire was famously recorded in the diary of Samuel Pepys (source).

So down [I went], with my heart full of trouble, to the Lieutenant of the Tower, who tells me that it began this morning in the King’s baker’s house in Pudding Lane, and that it hath burned St. Magnus’s Church and most part of Fish Street already. So I rode down to the waterside, . . . and there saw a lamentable fire. . . . Everybody endeavouring to remove their goods, and flinging into the river or bringing them into lighters that lay off; poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very fire touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs by the waterside to another.

P1150376The Monument to the Great Fire of London, which was designed by Christopher Wren, stands metres away from where the original fire began.