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The Great Fire of London began on the night of September 2, 1666, as a small fire on Pudding Lane, in the bakeshop of Thomas Farynor, baker to King Charles II. At one o'clock in the morning, a servant woke to find the house aflame, and the baker and his family escaped, but a fear-struck maid perished in the blaze.

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Great Fire of London

Map of the Spread of the Fire - Ths Day in History: Sep 2, 1666: Great Fire of London begins

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September 2, 1666: The Great Fire of London Begins. No one had obeyed the King's orders about building standards, and when the fire broke out, no one obeyed his commands to tear down the structures in its way, either. So King Charles and his brother James took charge of the fire fighting personally. Somebody had to. It was headed toward the Tower of London -- and the 500 tons of gunpowder stored there.

Woodcut image showing how firehooks are used to help tear down buildings to stop fires from spreading, as seen during a fire at Tiverton in Devon, England, 1612

Detail of the Great Fire of London by an unknown painter, depicting the fire as it would have appeared on the evening of Tuesday, 4 September 1666.

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