Moorfields
Finsbury Circus, London EC2M 5NS

The dispossessed

The dispossessed

The poor inhabitants were dispersed about St. George's Fields, and Moorfields, as far as Highgate, and several miles in circle, some under tents, some under miserable huts and hovels, many without a rag or any necessary utensils, bed or board.
John Evelyn, 5 September 1666

 

As many as 100,000 Londoners were left homeless by the Fire. Many escaped to the nearest piece of safe open ground. Moorfields, in the 17th century a civic park with gravelled walks and tree-lined avenues, became a temporary encampment. King Charles II rode out to address the crowds here, telling them that the fire was an act of God.

The King announced that ‘all Churches, Chappels, Schools, and other like Publick Places’ should be available for safe storage of the goods of those who had lost their homes. If the homeless were to relocate out of London ‘all Cities and Towns whatsoever shall without any contradiction receive the said distressed persons and permit them the free exercise of their manual trades’.