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What London was like in 1600

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Great Fire Of London Coursework Part One Describe what London was like before the Great Fire of London. In the early 17th century, London was a dangerous place to live. Disease and danger ruled the streets, people had different ideas, notably concerning medicine. The city had firm social divisions. In the middle of the 17th century, London's population was around half a million people. At the time it was one of the largest cities in the world, and second only to Paris, in Europe. At the time, there was a very distinct class system in London. If you were upper class, you would live in stone houses, wear expensive fashionable clothes, have an education, have access to healthcare and eat decent food and drink clean water. ...read more.


Typically, lower class people would have worked as servants, traders, dockers, builders or in a factory. Prostitution was also common. Very little was known about health and hygiene in the 17th century. People were not aware that disease was spread by germ. Peoples attitudes to disease were different - many thought it was sent by God or other various superstitions. For the lower classes, any washing would have been done in either the Thames, or public washing areas which weren't significantly cleaner than the Thames. Many worked in the street and then ate without washing their hands. Shockingly, butchers threw animal guts out in the streets to rot. ...read more.


Streets were extremely narrow and often houses were so close together that you could shake your neighbours' hand from your window. The consequences of one house setting on fire would be disastrous, as soon a whole row would be up in flames. English writer John Evelyn described London as a "wooden, northern, and inartificial congestion of Houses". As if there was a need to add further hazards to London's streets, tons of gunpowder was left over from the English Civil war. London in the 17th century was very dangerous and diseased place. People knew little about the causes of things - such as disease. Another example being that small fires happened all the time and people did nothing to minimise the risks. Consequently, the Great Fire of London was inevitable. . ...read more.

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