London was full of narrow streets and wooden houses. For around 60 years, monarchs had attempted to make people build houses in brick instead, to create a more attractive city that was less of a fire risk.
Increasing numbers of modern brick houses were being built, but the City of London still had many old timber-framed houses. These had upper floors called ‘jetties’ that leant outwards, narrowing the streets. This made it easy for fires to spread, and the narrow streets often prevented firefighters and their equipment reaching fires.