This infamous blaze is an integral part of British history and the national curriculum. So Royal Mail has prepared for issuing special stamps to mark its 350th anniversary and to re-tell its story in a graphic novel style, evoking the high drama of those days while ensuring a high degree of historical accuracy.
Working closely with the expert curator at the Museum of London, the stamp designs feature the artwork of John Higgins and convey the drama of the events chronologically across the six stamps, documenting the start, spread and end of the Great Fire of London in September 1666.
StampNews.com invites our readers to dive into the history of Great Britain with this meaningful stamp issue.
In the early hours of Sunday 2 Sept 1666 a fire breaks out in bakery of Thomas Farriner in Pudding Lane, London. Over the next few days the fire spreads through the city, the close-packed wooden houses, with thatch, stored materials like pitch and tar plus strong westerly wind making a 'perfect storm'.
By 5th September 4/5 of the old city of London (within the city walls) was burnt down: more than 13,000 houses and shops and other buildings destroyed along with 87 churches and old St Paul's Cathedral.
While fires were not unusual, the poor fire-fighting capabilities and inadequate management led to spreading – only leather buckets; primitive 'squirters'; and long hooks for pulling down buildings were the tools available. Thousands were made homeless by the fire, and set up camps in fields around the city. Within days, plans were being considered for the rebuilding and Christopher Wren given task of designing new churches and a new St Paul's Cathedral. His 52 new parish churches became a 17th-18th tourist attraction, including the new cathedral.