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Database: Suspicious Fire in London

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ACI Suspicious Fire in London

In the 1660s, Great Britain was caught up in political and religious upheavals, as well as constant wars with the Dutch and the French. Moreover, in London, because of the close proximity of buildings made primarily of timber, the city was vulnerable to fires, and the city officials were certainly aware of it.

At 2 am, on September 2, 1666, the house of Thomas Farynor, the king's baker, caught fire. It started in the house located on Pudding Lane, near London Bridge, and quickly spread across the whole city. The fire lasted several days and was extinguished on September 5. In total, it destroyed 373 acres of the city. Fearing a rebellion among dispossessed refugees, King Charles II encouraged an evacuation of the city to resettle elsewhere.

The tension of the era allowed for the development of several conspiracy theories to explain the source of the fire. A Parliamentary Committee was set up to investigate the fire. A French watchmaker confessed to having deliberately started the fire and was convicted and hanged on September 28, 1666. However, his testimony was inconclusive and there was proof that he was not even in the city when the fire began. The Great Fire of London contributed to the political and religious tensions during the Restoration.

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