Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

An Historical Narrative of the Great and Terrible Fire of London, Sept. 2nd 1666   By:

Book cover

First Page:


E text prepared by Steven Gibbs, Linda Cantoni, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team (

Transcriber's note:

This e book, a pamphlet by Gideon Harvey, was originally published in 1769, and was prepared from a reprint in The Novels and Miscellaneous Works of Daniel De Foe , vol. 5 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855), in which it complemented a reprint of Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year .

Archaic spellings have been retained as they appear in the original, and obvious printer's errors have been corrected without note.






Sept. 2nd 1666




No sooner was the plague so abated in London that the inhabitants began to return to their habitations, than a most dreadful fire broke out in the city, and raged as if it had commission to devour everything that was in its way. On the second of September, 1666, this dismal fire broke out at a baker's shop in Pudding lane by Fish street, in the lower part of the city, near Thames street, (among rotten wooden houses ready to take fire, and full of combustible goods) in Billingsgate ward; which ward in a few hours was laid in ashes. It began in the dead of the night, and the darkness very much increased the confusion and horror of the surprising calamity: when it had made havoc of some houses, it rushed down the hill towards the bridge; crossed Thames street, invaded St. Magnus church at the bridge foot, and though that church was so great, yet it was not a sufficient barricado against this merciless conqueror; but having scaled and taken this fort, it shot flames with so much the greater advantage into all places round about, and a great building of houses upon the bridge is quickly thrown down to the ground; there, being stayed in its course at the bridge, the fire marched back through the city again, and ran along, with great noise and violence, through Thames street, westward, where, having such combustible matter to feed on, and such a fierce wind upon its back, it prevailed with little resistance, unto the astonishment of the beholders. The fire is soon taken notice of, though in the midst of the night: Fire! Fire! Fire! doth resound through the streets; many start out of their sleep, look out of their windows; some dress themselves, and run to the place. The citizens affrighted and amazed, delayed the use of timely remedies; and what added to the misfortune, was, the people neglecting their houses, and being so fatally set on the hasty removing of their goods, which were, notwithstanding, devoured by the nimble increase of the flames. A raging east wind fomented it to an incredible degree, and in a moment raised the fire from the bottoms to the tops of the houses, and scattered prodigious flakes in all places, which were mounted so vastly high in the air, as if heaven and earth were threatened with the same conflagration. The fury soon became insuperable against the arts of men and power of engines; and beside the dismal scenes of flames, ruin and desolation, there appeared the most killing sight in the distracted looks of the citizens, the wailings of miserable women, the cries of poor children, and decripid old people; with all the marks of confusion and despair. No man that had the sense of human miseries could unconcernedly behold the dismal ravage and destruction made in one of the noblest cities in the world.

The lord mayor of the city comes with his officers; what a confusion there is! counsel is taken away; and London, so famous for wisdom and dexterity, can now find neither brains nor hands to prevent its ruin: the decree was gone forth, London must now fall: and who can prevent it? No wonder, when so many pillars are removed, the building tumbles... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books