The fire began at around 1am on 2 September 1666 in a bakery on Pudding Lane in the City of London (the area now governed by the Corporation of London and known as the Square Mile).
The baker, Thomas Farriner, his daughter Hanna and their servants were asleep upstairs. The choking smoke from a fire below woke them and they escaped out of a window onto their neighbour’s roof. Their maid was too scared to climb out and became the first person to lose their life to the fire.
Thomas said the Great Fire was not his fault and that all the fires in his house were out except for one, which was just smouldering. We will never know for sure why the Great Fire started. Did a spark from Thomas’s oven set light to a pile of wood? If so, this tiny spark led to the destruction of a quarter of the capital city.
In Pudding Lane, people had stores of things that burn easily, like tar, rope, oil and brandy. It was one of the worst places for a fire to start.