For precisely 350 years, everyone in England believed that Pudding Lane was THE London hotspot—the place, on the property of Thomas Farriner’s bakery, that the Great Fire of London sparked.
Then a historian and House of Commons Clerk said nope, not so.
Yes, the Great Fire began—as generations of British school children had learned—on the premises of Farriner’s bakery, but NOT on the now INFAMOUS (thanks to this persistent bit of misinformation) Pudding Lane.
Instead, according to Dorian Gerhold—an Oxford trained, multi-published historian, and member of the Royal Historical Society, as well as a House of Commons Clerk—the baker’s oven where the Great Fire first flamed stood on a spot 60-feet east of Pudding Lane and, rather appropriately, “on what is now the cobbled surface of Monument Street,” named for the Moment to the Great Fire standing nearby (read about the Monument—a creation of British Architect and And by Fire character Sir Christopher Wren—here).
Mr. Gerhold came to his conclusion in 2016 while researching buildings erected in London before 1720. As part of his dive into the Capital’s architectural history, Gerhold uncovered a 1679 survey of the site of Farriner’s bakery. And on that survey—“at a spot toward the rear of the property”—in clear and steady hand was a note: “Mr. Farriner’s grounde there the Fyer began.”[i]
And just like that, the ignition point for the Great Fire was relocated. A fact that comes up in the opening line my novel And by Fire (out in May but available for pre-order now)—see how by reading this excerpt from Chapter 1.
[i] Patrick Foster, “Academic Unearths the Exact Location of the Start of the Great Fire of London” The Telegraph (February 10, 2016)