Home > History of Wine > The Great Fire of London, Part 3

The Great Fire of London, Part 3


Wenceslaus Hollar's Great Fire of London. Engraved By W. Hollar, c. 1666-1669. From the British Library. Shelfmark: Maps K. Top. 21.36.a

Wenceslaus Hollar’s Great Fire of London. Engraved By W. Hollar, c. 1666-1669. From the British Library. Shelfmark: Maps K. Top. 21.36.a

After the Great Fire ended, it was quite chaotic in London.  Samuel Pepys had noted how people moved their possessions by cart or by hand.  Apparently one of his neighbors left all of their wine in the street at night.  Perhaps they had hoped to move the wine by cart or just returned it?

Saturday 8 September 1666

“But I was much frighted and kept awake in my bed, by some noise I heard a great while below stairs; and the boys not coming up to me when I knocked. It was by their discovery of people stealing of some neighbours’ wine that lay in vessels in the streets. So to sleep; and all well all night.”

It was a few days after the fire ended, that Samuel Pepys began to return his valuables and other possessions to his house.  Of course he also dug his wine out from the pit.  This was not the last time wine was famously buried in the ground for safekeeping.  During the American Civil War, many families buried their prized Madeira collections in advance of General Sherman’s troops.

Friday 14 September 1666

“And so home, having this day also got my wine out of the ground again, and set in my cellar; but with great pain to keep the porters that carried it in from observing the money-chests there.”

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