One morning in sixteen sixty six,

a bakers assistant named Ted,

were getting’ behind in ‘is orders,

when a brainwave popped into ‘is ‘ead.


He loaded all t’dough into th’oven,

an’ to try an’ speed t’process along,

poured some coal-oil straight onto t’fire , 

but he knew reight away, he’d done wrong.


As t’flames into th’arth sputtered wildly,

huge sparks up from t’grate they did pop.

Dirty smoke billo’ed up out o’ th’oven,

and blackened all t’pies in t’shop.


Wi’ a bang like an eighteen inch cannon,

th’oven door blew off its ‘inge.

Ted knew it were time to get out o’ the shop,

‘cause ‘is eyebrows were startin’ to singe.


As Ted made a bee-line for t’doorway,

th’oven erupted again,

an’ a blazin’ barm cake passed ‘is ‘ear as it flew,

like a meteorite out into t’lane.


Th ‘hole place ‘ad become an inferno,

nigh impossible for Ted t’quell.

‘ot-cross buns ‘ad set fire to the butchers

an’ set leight to t’pie shop as well.


All t’shops went up like roman candles,

settin’ bonfires along Puddin’ lane.

Ted were countin’ on t’bakers insurance.

Fire brigade were all countin on t’rain.


Fanned bi t’breeze soon the flames reached the tower,

an’ th’eat made all th’occupants swoon.

Barked the beefeaters captain “lets leg it or else,

we’ll be barbequed beefeaters soon?”


T’fire travelled westward towards Temple Church,

leavin’ carnage an’ death in its wake.

From a safe vantage point Sam Pepys spectated t’blaze,

on which notes he ‘ad started to take.


T’firestorm blazed on to t’northwest unallayed,

leavin thousan’s  of ‘ouses in ruin. 

For t’folk in its path, it brought terror an’ pain,

but for t’rest it med compulsive viewin’


When it reached Holborn Bridge after dinner,

three score taverns an’ inns were destroyed.

Gang o’ lads on t’pub ride out from Blegburn,

were to put it politely “annoyed”.


Eighty seven owd churches ‘ad perished,

but t’lads were more worried o’er t’pubs.

Panic reigned when they ‘eard that St Paul’s were ablaze,

‘cause they thought it were t’workin’ men’s club.


When they found it were just a cathedral,

not one of ‘em uttered a sob.

“There’s allus a bright side” said t’driver,

“it’s gi’ Christopher Wren a fresh job!”


t’Royal Exchange were consumed by the flames,

and t’Guildhall were rendered t’ash.

King Charles watched uncomfortably out on ‘is barge,

‘cause th’eat brought ‘im out in a rash.


On a patch o’ spare land, green, amidst all the flames,

an oasis where refugees fled.

Isaac Newton sat studyin’ under a tree,

when a “Scotch Bridget” fell on ‘is ‘ead.


Isaac jumped to ‘is feet howlin’, “What’s going on?”

Grasping t’gravity of ‘is situation.

“London towns been ablaze while you’ve sat on your bum,”

said a young lass wi’ some consternation.


“I’m movin’ from London, but know not yet where”

she said, soundin’ just a bit vague.

“Alas my dear ‘usband is lost unto t’flames,

an’ I lost one last year down to t’plague.”


“Don’t despair,” whispered Isaac to t’woman.

“you can mek a fresh start in this town,

and regarding your ‘usband who went up in flames,

theres a law, what goes up must come down!”


from th’onset o’ “t’Great Conflagration”,

which burned for four days ‘fore it broke.

A new London town  rose fray th’ashes,

that’s why cockneys all call it “the smoke”.


Over one hunderd thousand were ‘omeless,

wand’rin streets that were filthy an’ grey.

Sleepin’ rough, wi’ some beggin’ on t’corners.

In fact just like the place is today!


gallery/great fire