Fire & Pestilence: The Great Fire of London & Family History - A Full-Day Course on 3 September

The Great Fire of London is one of the biggest disasters in London’s history – some believe it to be the biggest of all. Join us for a whole day, at the Society of Genealogists, to explore the story of the Great Fire and how it affected Londoners and London. Attend talks and workshops covering the parts of London that burnt, where to find records on Londoners who lived through it and what happened when the Fire stopped. 

The Great Fire began on 2 September 1666 and destroyed one-third of London. It had a devastating effect on the lives of Londoners, from all parts of society. The diarist Samuel Pepys recorded events each day and helps us to relive those five frightening days as London burned. “So near the fire as we could for smoke; and all over the Thames, with one’s faces in the wind, you were almost burned with a shower of fire-drops”, wrote Pepys about the evening of the 2nd (From Pepys Diary published by Project Gutenberg).


Topics covered

Throughout the day, our speakers Gustav Milne, Vanessa Harding and Pete Smith aim to help you develop your understanding of how Londoners survived the Fire and what their lives were like during it and afterwards.

Learn more about the events of the five days that the Fire burned and what happened after it ended

Find out about the records available relating to Londoners that lived in the city during the time of the Fire

Understand the area of London the Fire covered and where to find the surviving geographic and land records

Consider the effect that the Fire had on the Great Plague of 1665 in London

Who should attend

Can you trace your family back to the 1600s? Expect a wealth of detail from the speakers that will expand your understanding of their lives and maybe uncover records you hadn’t thought about.

Do you want to know more about how London changed and evolved because of the Great Fire and the Great Plague? The speakers aim to cover where the Fire burnt and the changes that inevitably came afterwards.

Are you fascinated by the social history of London because it helps you to understand your own family stories? Expect to learn about 1660s London, giving you a basis for the London that your ancestors lived in.


£35.00/£28.00 SoG members. Cost covers all talks, tea/coffee breaks and a copy of our publication, 'My Ancestors were Londoners by Cliff Webb'. Places must be pre-booked, through our website or by telephone: 020 7553 3290. Do you have a question? email the events department

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