The untold story of the Great Fire of London





The Great Fire of London started accidentally in a bakery, right? That wasn't the view at the time - many believed it was a terrorist attack and violent reprisals against possible suspects soon followed.

The date 1666 is one burned on to the collective memory of a nation.

But a new Channel 4 documentary focuses on the lesser known story of the fire - it sparked a violent backlash against London's immigrant population, prompted by the widely-held belief at the time that it was an act of arson committed by a foreign power.

As the fire raged, and rumours spread that the French had invaded, angry mobs hunted anyone who appeared to be foreign, says Ms Horth. A Swedish diplomat was lynched. A French woman trying to escape to a refugee camp in Spitalfields had her breast cut off because people thought the baby chicks she carried in her apron were fireballs.

Until the 19th Century, the plaque at London's Monument stated that followers of the Pope were to blame, says Ms Horth, and named Hubert as the fire-starter. It was only after Catholic emancipation in the 19th Century that the government decided the plaque was inflammatory and had those inscriptions removed....


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