The second Great Fire of London

On this day in 1940, an air raid by the German Luftwaffe led  to the so-called “Second Great Fire of London” (see  M.J. Gaskin’s “Blitz”, published by Faber & Faber in 2005;  see also September 16th posting on “The London Blitz, and the London County Council Bomb Damage Maps“).  Thousands of incendiary bombs were dropped, and the small individual fires that they set off soon coalesced into a great conflagration that threatened the entire city centre.  Over 200 people were killed, and damage to property was on a then unprecedented scale.  The area around St Paul’s was essentially razed to the ground, and although the cathedral itself miraculously survived essentially intact, due to the heroic actions of the firefighters of the St Paul’s Watch, a number of other Wren churches were seriously damaged, and two, St Mary Aldermanbury and St Stephen Coleman Street, were substantially destroyed.  Remarkably, St Mary Aldermanbury was rebuilt, out of salvaged material, and according to Wren’s original design, in Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in 1966 (as a memorial to Winston Churchill, who had made his famous “Iron Curtain” speech there in 1946).

The sites of St Mary Aldermanbury and St Stephen Coleman Street – and the ruins of Christ Church Greyfriars and St Alban Wood Street – are visited on our “Lost Wren Churches” themed special.  Further details of all our walks are available in the “Guided Walks” section of this web-site.  Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section, by e-mail (, or by phone (020-8998-3051).

These and other sites associated with the raid are visited on one of the walks organised by our friends at “Blitzwalkers” (


One thought on “The second Great Fire of London

  1. rafterd1972

    Thank you for this contemporary information. I don’t think any of us in this country can even begin to imagine the pain and suffering that London and Londoners suffered during those tragic days


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