Some of the building regulations you labor under today were inspired in part by a small fire in a bakery in London’s Pudding Lane 350 years ago.

That small fire ignited the Great Fire of London, the September 1666 blaze that is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City's 80,000 inhabitants and wiped out buildings along nearly one and a half miles of Thames River properties.

In his commentary July 26, Buildingtalk editor Howard Chapman notes that the fire led in 1667 to the Rebuilding Act, which contained numerous rules that in effect were among England's first building codes. Among them:

  • Upper floors of houses were no longer permitted to jut out over the floor below
  • Hanging signs were banned
  • All houses or buildings, whether great or small, to be built only in brick or stone--if new houses were built of other materials they would be pulled down. So no more building with wood and thatch.
  • New Fire Prevention Regulations included easy access to water and the beginnings of a fire hydrant system for the city

For more on the Great Fire's legacy, read Chapman's commentary.

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