Thursday, May 24, 2018

A rough couple of years in London

Shortly after Charles came to the throne, London encountered two calamities in rapid succession: the Plague in 1665 and the Great Fire in 1666. The Plague was the last violent outbreak of the same scourge which had cropped out from time to time since the Black Death three centuries earlier. This time its effects were limited pretty much to London, where at least seventy thousand are estimated to have died in a few months The sturdy Pepys was among the few who stayed at his work while other fled - "little noise heard night or day," he wrote, "but the tolling of bells." . . .

The following year (1666) London was struck again, this time by a fire which raged five days and cleared out a considerable part of the City. It spared the slums to the eastward, not did it extend far toward Westminster; but in the City proper it destroyed some thirteen thousand homes and eighty-nine churches

(from A History of England and the British Empire)

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