Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections

Books on London

The Great Fire




Throughout its history London has endured a succession of calamities of both the natural and man-made kind, which, rather than spelling ruin, served to enrich the city's tale of continual re-invention. From the plague of 1665, immediately followed by the Great Fire of 1666, through to the Blitz of World War II, London's growth and success have been hampered time and again by the disasters of fire, flood, plague, epidemic and war.

Title page, London's Flames DiscoveredAlthough this is one of the smaller categories of the London collection, its highlights are three seventeenth-century works on the Great Fire. The first, A Sermon Preached before the Honourable House of Commons at St. Margarets Westminster, Octob. 10. Being the Fast-Day Appointed for the Late Dreadfull Fire in the City of London (1666), records the sermon delivered by Edward Stillingfleet at the British Parliament only a month after the fire. The second is a brief study published in 1667 by the House of Commons with the full title of London's Flames Discovered by Informations Taken before the Committee Appointed to Enquire after the Burning of the City of London. And after the Insolency of the Papists, &c; it is an official inquiry into the cause of the fire and the rumours that papists were responsible for setting it. In the third book, London's Lamentations: or, A Serious Discourse Concerning that Late Fiery Dispensation that Turned Our (Once Renowned) City into a Ruinous Heap (1670), Thomas Brooks presents a series of sermons on the fire, emphasizing lessons--more religious than practical--that are to be learned from it. Those books treating the monument erected to commemorate the fire of 1666 can be found under the Architecture & Building category.

Another kind of conflagration is represented in the collection as well: the twentieth-century phenomenon of world war. Sir Alfred Rawlinson's book, The Defence of London, 1915-1918 (1923), describes the measures taken and the machinery used to protect the city during the First World War, which saw the beginning of strategic bombing of cities. Bryn Mawr also owns copies of two famous speeches on the Great War delivered in London, the first in 1914 by David Lloyd George in the Queen's Hall and the second by Sir Edward Grey at the Bechstein Hall early in 1915. The city, of course, suffered severe bombing again during World War II in what became known as the London Blitz. Historic London Under Fire (1942) is a record of speeches given on the occasion of an exhibition on London's historic buildings before and after war damage. Although this is the only source on the Blitz included here, there are several in the Urban Planning & Description of Urban Spaces and London in Literature categories.


Brooks, Thomas, 1608-1680
Londons lamentations: or, A serious discourse concerning that late fiery dispensation that turned our (once renowned) city into a ruinous heap; also the several lessons that are incumbent upon those whose houses have escaped the consuming flames, by Thomas Brooks
London, Printed for J. Hancock and N. Ponder and are to be sold at the first shop in Popes-Head-Alley, at the Sign of the Three Bibles, or at his shop in Bishopsgate-street, and at the Sign of the Peacock, 1670
DA681 .B87 1670

Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731
A journal of the plague year; or, Memorials of the great pestilence in London, in 1665
London : Printed for T. Tegg, 1839
PR3404 .J6 1839

Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731
An abridgment of The history of the great plague in London, in the year 1665. By a citizen, who lived the whole time in London. Together with an account of the fire in 1666; from the Memoirs of Evelyn
London, C. & J. Rivington, 1824

Defoe, Daniel, 1661?-1731
An abridgment of The history of the great plague in London, in the year 1665. By a citizen, who lived the whole time in London. Together with an account of the fire in 1666; from the Memoirs of Evelyn
London, C. & J. Rivington, 1824

Godsal, Philip T
The storming of London and the Thames Valley campaign: a military study of the conquest of Britain by the Angles / by Major P. T. Godsal .
London : Harrison & sons, [1908]
DA152 .G6 1908

Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons
Londons flames discovered by informations taken before the committee appointed to enquire after the burning of the city of London. And after the insolency of the papists, &c
London, Printed in the year, 1667
DA681 .G78 1667

Grey of Fallodon, Edward Grey, Viscount, 1862-1933
Speech delivered by the Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Grey, K.G., British secretary of state for foreign affairs, at the Bechstein hall, London, on Monday, 22nd March, 1915
London, Darling & son limited, 1915
D525 .G777 1915

Knutsson, Bengt, Bp. of Vesteras, fl. 1461
A litil boke the whiche traytied and reherced many gode thinges necessaries for the ... pestilence ... : made by the Bisshop of Arusiens ... / <London>, <1485?> Reproduced in facsimile from the copy in the John Rylands library. With and introduction by Guthrie Vine, M. A
Manchester : The university press; [etc., etc.], 1910
093 K786l

Lloyd George, David, 1863-1945
The Great War : speech delivered by the Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George (chancellor of the Exchequer) at the Queen's Hall, London, on September 19th, 1914
London : Printed by the Clerkenwell Press, 1914?

Marsh, Catherine, 1818-1912
Death and life : a record of the cholera wards in the London Hospital / by the author of Memorials of Captain Hedley Vicars [i. e. C. Marsh]
London : J. Nisbet, 1866
RC133.G6 M3 1866

Rawlinson, Alfred, Sir, bart., 1867-
The defence of London, 1915-1918 / by A. Rawlinson ; with introduction by Sir Percy Scott
London ; New York : A. Melrose, 1923
D547.8.L7 R3 1923

Stillingfleet, Edward, 1635-1699
A sermon preached before the honourable House of commons at St. Margarets Westminster, Octob. 10. being the fast-day appointed for the late dreadfull fire in the city of London. By Edward Stillingfleet; Published by order of the said House
London : Printed by Robert White, for Henry Mortlock, 1666

Vincent, Thomas, 1634-1678
The plague and fire of London / described by an eyewitness ; extracted from Vincent's God's terrible voice in the city by John Scott
London : L. B. Seeley, 1832
Uncat 10,505

Historic London under fire
[London : Ecclesiological Society, 1942
Uncat 10,479

Pain's great fire of London, 1666.
Boston : Alfred Mudge & sons, 1889.

Historical / Physical / Natural
Social / Cultural / Political