Everyone knows that the Great Fire of London started at a baker's in Pudding Lane; that it was a terrible accident; and that hardly anyone died. However, many Londoners, reeling from plague and war, and torn apart by sectarian tensions, believed that the fire had been started deliberately by a foreign enemy living within their midst. And they wanted to make sure a foreigner would pay for this crime of the century. For several apocalyptic days and nights, as the city burned, Londoners hunted the foreign fire-starters. The first target was the Dutch, whose cities, navy and empire Britain coveted; the second was the French, our fundamentalist religious enemies. After an orgy of rage and violence, cosmopolitan London had found its incendiary alien - a Frenchman who claimed to have committed this act of terror - and from whom the mob would, quite literally, demand their pound of flesh. But many were left wondering whether the real horrors had been committed by Londoners themselves. As the real stories of hardship and heroism emerged, the authorities had to ask whether London's foreign communities had been more loyal than they could ever have imagined. With expert interviews, fresh visualisations of 17th-century London and contemporary sources, The Untold Great Fire of London reveals the dirty truth behind one of our most famous historical moments.
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