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Magical History Tour: What Really Started the Great Fire of London in 1666?

Everyone really knows that the Terileptils were responsible for the Great Fire of London, after all that messy business in 1666 involving rats, Pudding Lane, and the Fifth Doctor’s sonic screwdriver going kablooey (not to mention the gun that actually started the blaze).

That is, according to The Visitation. But we’ve got historians who disagree with those accounts and instead blame the fire on… well, let’s find out, shall we?

The blaze lasted from 2nd to 6th September, and gutted the city of London, but it’s generally believed that comparatively few died — although the social ramifications were massive.

So while Peter Davison’s Doctor seemed rather pleased with himself, he might just have been perpetuating the idea that the Great Fire of London helped stop the spread of Bubonic plague, the city having suffered a particularly devastating outbreak in 1665. In fact, it’s estimated that one outbreak alone killed around a sixth of London’s 80,000 population.

The Museum of London actually considers the effect on the plague to be one of the biggest myths about the Great Fire.

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

Magical History Tour: What Really Started the Great Fire of London in 1666?

by Philip Bates time to read: 1 min
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