September 2 - 1666 - The Great Fire of London
When Thomas Farrinor's bakery caught on fire, the danger seemed mostly to be confined to Farrinor's bakery and attached house. The way fires were fought was by demolishing houses in the path of the fire, creating fire breaks. Then, naturally, people opposed the destruction of their homes, and Lord Mayor of London Thomas Bloodworth dismissed the fire by supposedly saying "A woman could piss it out." The fire would become a massive conflagration that destroyed huge sections of the older portion of London inside the old Roman walls to the city. Tens of thousands fled the city, while the fire grew hotter and hotter. Most shockingly, three days after starting, the fire had spread to St. Paul's Cathedral, which many people thought would be a firebreak, but instead went up in flames, launching its stone work across the city. Along with St. Paul's, Bridwell Prison, three city gates, over 100 churches, and thousands of homes were destroyed. Some 70,000 people were displaced. The entire city, still getting used to the Restoration of King Charles II, found many things to be an appropriate cause, from God's punishment for the city's sins to foreign plots. In all, the Great Fire of London became one of the signature moments of Charles II's reign.