The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of London from Sunday, 2 September to Thursday, 6 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. It threatened but did not reach the City of Westminster, Charles II's Palace of Whitehall, and most of the suburban slums. It destroyed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul's Cathedral, and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City's 80,000 inhabitants.
The fire started in a bakery shortly after midnight on Sunday, 2 September, and spread rapidly. The use of the major firefighting technique of the time, the creation of firebreaks by means of demolition, was critically delayed due to the indecisiveness of the Lord Mayor, Sir Thomas Bloodworth. By the time large-scale demolitions were ordered on Sunday night, the wind had already fanned the bakery fire into a firestorm which defeated such measures. The fire pushed north on Monday into the heart of the City. Order in the streets broke down as rumours arose of suspicious foreigners setting fires.