The Great Fire of London

A History In Numbers


In 1666 the City of London was a random cluster of close-packed houses, mostly timber-framed, arranged in narrow streets and alleyways where rich and poor lived in close proximity. Large areas were slum tenements.

Some parts of the City had changed little since mediaeval times, and all manner of noxious trades took place, often from the same buildings within which the traders and craftsmen lived.

Although Londoners were well-used to fires, a long, hot summer, a sudden period of strong winds, and a fire breaking out late at night were all that was needed to start the worst fire Britain had ever seen. Here we present all of the key details of the Great Fire, the people involved, and the aftermath.

Ludgate burning in the Great Fire of London, with St Paul's Cathedral in the background. Detail from a hand-coloured etching by William Russell Birch, 1792

Above: Ludgate burning in the Great Fire of London, with St Paul's Cathedral in the background. Detail from a hand-coloured etching by William Russell Birch, 1792 © Trustees of the British Museum.

10 Facts About The Fire

100,000 - the estimated population of the City of London at the time of the fire.

More about London in 1666

5 days - the period that the Great Fire burned (although smaller fires continued for days and weeks afterwards).

Key facts about the fire

100 - having started with a single fire at around 1.00 a.m., the estimated number of houses catching fire every hour by Sunday afternoon.

More about the first day

50% - the approximate amount of the City of London destroyed by the fire by the Monday evening.

More about day 2, Monday

600,000 lbs - the approximate amount of gunpowder barrels being stored at the Tower of London, requiring desperate efforts to move it unless the fire should cause a huge explosion that would destroy the city for miles around.

More about day 3, Tuesday

1 - the number of major fires that remained alight on Wednesday evening.

More about day 4, Wednesday

8 - the number of temporary markets set up to ensure the provision of food for those rendered homeless by the fire.

More about day 5, Thursday

13,200 - the number of houses destroyed in the Great Fire, rendering 80% of the population homeless.

More about the aftermath

51 - the approximate age of Thomas Farriner, the owner of the bakery in Pudding Lane where the fire started.

More about the people involved

0% - the percentage of Londoners who were insured against fires; it would be another 14 years before London's first fire insurance company emerged.

Facts about rebuilding London

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About The Site

There is much written about the Great Fire of London on the web, much of it excellent, some more fanciful. aims to provide a quick and interesting reference to some of the more significant facts and figures about the fire; we hope you find something of value here.

If you reference the material from this site on another website or in any published material please credit

Important Note

All of the facts and figures presented are correct to the best of our knowledge, however the accuracy of the information presented cannot be guaranteed; in using any of the facts or images from this website you do so entirely at your own discretion.

If you spot an entry that you believe requires correction do please let us know - we do not wish to perpetuate inaccuracies. You can contact us at 'hello /at/ history in numbers /dot/ com'.