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The Great Plague of London
and the Philanthropic Earl of Craven


The Plague Doctor -  Nash Ford Publishing

 

  • The City of London is the central part of London around St. Paul's Cathedral. It stretches from Fleet Street to the Tower of London. This was the area where the Romans lived.
  • In 1665, rats brought fleas with bubonic plague into the City and it spread to people.
  • At the time, no-one knew how it started. The Lord Mayor ordered all the cats and dogs to be killed, but they had kept the population of rats down.
  • Bonfires were kept burning day and night. The smoke was thought to clean the air.
  • Most of the rich people and people in charge left the City.
  • However, Samuel Pepys stayed and wrote about the plague in his famous diary.
  • The Earl of Craven also stayed and helped people:
    • He visited sick people.
    • He gave the City a piece of land in which people who died from the plague could be buried.
    • He organised the boarding up of houses where there was plague.
    • He built 'pest houses' to quarantine people in.
    • Both these activities kept people away from others, who would then not be able to catch the plague from them.
    • He also kept law and order.
  • People calling themselves 'plague doctors' tried to help too. They dressed up like birds with herbs in their leather 'beaks' (see picture) to clean the air and stop them catching the plague.
  • The plague killed 100,000 Londoners. That was one in every five people in the City.

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