The Great Fire of London

Society and politics

The social context of the fire and its repercussions across the country and beyond.

Read First Chapter
Chapter 01

A city and country full of tension and fears

London was still recovering from the Great Plague the year before. Wars and religious tensions added to people’s fears.

Before the fire

London was recovering from the Great Plague of 1664-65.

Before the fire: war

England was at war with France and the Netherlands. English and Dutch ships were on the brink of battle at the beginning of September 1666.

Before the fire: religious tensions

Most people in England were Protestant, and prejudice against the Catholic minority was common.

Chapter 02

Scapegoats and recovery

Faced with the enormity of the fire’s devastation, a fearful population tried to find someone to blame. However, getting London back on its feet was a more immediate concern.

During the fire

With little news from London, the whole country wondered what might be happening in the capital.

After the fire: trade relations

Merchants across the country and overseas were concerned about how the fire would affect trade.

After the fire: a financial centre

It was important to get the City of London, a centre for trade, on its feet again.

22 January 1667

War and religious tensions had bred mistrust. An official investigation presented evidence on who was to blame for the fire.


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