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An evaluation on a diary extract on the Great Fire of London 1666 written by Samuel Pepys.

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Introduction

An evaluation on a diary extract on the Great Fire of London 1666 written by Samuel Pepys Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) had a successful career in public service as a naval administrator and was a confidante of two Kings whom he served - Charles II and James II. He is mostly known for a diary that he kept between the years 1659 and 1669. The diary was written in a code now recognised as a Thomas Shelton system of shorthand called tachygraphy. The diary is considered essential historical reading as it includes detailed observations of events in 17th century England. The whole diary is considered a primary source of information, mainly due to the fact that it was written in code so only for Pepys personal gratification, but also because the events detailed within are corroborated by others at the time. ...read more.

Middle

On the evening of September 2, 1666 Pepys was woken by his maid and took his first view of the fire, thinking it a common enough matter went back to bed. It was only the following morning that the ferocity of the fire was realised. This is understandable due the makeup of the city buildings being easily flammable. Pepys states that he was summoned before the King who listened to his account and commanded him to go to the Lord Mayor and get him to demolish a line of buildings so as to create a firebreak. This may be a bit of pomposity on Pepys part, that the King would give him such an important task, in other peoples accounts it is stated ...read more.

Conclusion

He was known as one of the foremost geniuses of his day and was a founder member of the Royal Society and given a Royal Appointment by James II. In Pepys later years he and Evelyn were good friends and on Pepys death Evelyn wrote: 'This (day) dyed Mr. Sam: Pepys, a very worthy, Industrious, & curious person, none in England exceeding him in the Knowledge of the Navy ... universally beloved, Hospitable, Generous, Learned in many things, skill'd in Musick, a very greate Cherisher of Learned men ... ' More is known today about the extent of the damage caused by the fire and most agree to it beginnings within Pudding Lane. The fire burned unchecked for over three days and in the end over 80% of the city was destroyed. ...read more.

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