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The Great Fire of London: A Previous Year IELTS Reading Topic with Answer

Before getting into today’s passage topic, let’s learn some key points of IELTS reading. Many candidates find it tough, but is it impossible to score? NO! You can crack this section easily if you have the right pace and accuracy while answering the questions.

Now, let’s jump into the topic “The great fire of London reading answers”. Read the sections thoroughly to not miss out on any critical point.

The Great Fire of London Reading Answers

In the sections below, you will find the reading topic’s sections and some solved practise questions. Go through them and add some points to your daily preparation.

The Great Fire of London IELTS Reading Answers: Section 1

The Great Fire of London swept through London in September 1666, devastating many buildings, including 13,200 houses and 87 parish churches. The Royal Exchange, the Guildhall and St. Paul’s Cathedral, all built during the Middle Ages, were also all totally destroyed. Although the verified death toll was only six people, it is unknown how many people died in the Great Fire of London, because many more died through indirect causes. The financial losses caused by the fire were estimated to be £10 million, at a time when London’s annual income was only £12,000. Many people were financially ruined and debtors’ prisons become overcrowded.

The Great Fire of London IELTS Reading Answers: Section 2

The Great Fire of London started on Sunday, 2 September 1666 in a baker’s shop in Pudding Lane, belonging to Thomas Farynor. Although he claimed to have extinguished the fire, three hours later, at 1 a.m., his house was a blazing inferno. It is not certain how the fire actually began, but it is likely that it may have been caused by a spark from Farynor’s oven falling onto a pile of fuel nearby. In 1979, archaeologists excavated the remains of a burnt-out shop on Pudding Lane that was very close to the bakery where the fire started. Although he claimed to have extinguished the fire, three hours later, at 1 a.m., his house was a blazing inferno. In the cellar, they found the charred remnants of 20 barrels of pitch. Pitch burns very easily and would have helped to spread the fire.

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The Great Fire of London IELTS Reading Answers: Section 3

The fire spread quickly down Pudding Lane and carried on down Fish Hill and towards the Thames. The fire continued to spread rapidly, helped by a strong wind from the east. When it reached the Thames, it hit warehouses that were stocked with combustible products, such as oil and rope. Fortunately, the fire could not spread south of the river, because a previous blaze in 1633 had already wrecked a section of London Bridge. As the fire was spreading so quickly, most Londoners concentrated on escaping rather than fighting the fire.

The Great Fire of London IELTS Reading Answers: Section 4

In the 17th century, people were not as aware of the dangers of fire as they are today. Buildings were made of timber covered in pitch and tightly packed together. The design of buildings meant flames could easily spread from building to building. Following a long, dry summer, the city was suffering a drought; water was scarce and the wooden houses had dried out, making them easier to burn. Although he claimed to have extinguished the fire, three hours later, at 1 a.m., his house was a blazing inferno. Samuel Pepys, a diarist of the period and Clerk to the Royal Navy, observed the fire and recommended to the King that buildings should be pulled down, as it could be the only way to stop the fire.

The Great Fire of London Reading Answers: Section 5

The Mayor made the order to pull down burning houses using fire hooks, but the fire continued to spread. Pepys then spoke to the Admiral of the Navy and they agreed that they should blow up houses in the path of the fire. The hope was that by doing this, they would create a space to stop the fire from spreading from house to house. The Navy carried out the request and by the next morning, the fire had been successfully stopped.

London had to be almost totally reconstructed and many people went to the fields outside London. They stayed there for many days, sheltering in tents and shacks and some people were forced to live in this way for months and even years. Throughout 1667, people cleared rubble and surveyed the burnt area.

The Great Fire of London Reading Answers: Section 6

Much time was spent planning new street layouts and drawing up new building regulations. Public buildings were paid for with money from a new coal tax, but by the end of the year, only 150 new houses had been built. The new regulations were designed to prevent such a disaster from happening again. Houses now had to be faced in brick instead of wood. Some streets were widened and two new streets were created. Pavements and new sewers were laid, and London’s quaysides were improved. Initially, however, only temporary buildings were erected that were ill-equipped, and this enabled the plague, which was common in London at that time, to spread easily. Many people died from this and the harsh winter that followed the fire.

The Great Fire of London Reading Answers: Section 7

In 1666, there was no organised fire brigade. Fire fighting was very basic with little skill or knowledge involved. Leather buckets, axes and water squirts were used to fight the fire, but they had little effect. As a result of the Great Fire of London, early fire brigades were formed by insurance companies. Building insurance was very profitable and many more insurance companies were set up, establishing their own fire brigades. These brigades were sent to insured properties if a fire occurred to minimise damage and cost. Fire Marks were used to identifying – and advertise – different insurance companies.

The Great Fire of London Reading Answers: Section 8

They were placed on the outside of an insured building and brigades would use them to determine whether a building was insured by them. If a building was on fire, several brigades would attend. If they did not see their specific firemark attached to the building, they would leave the property to burn. Throughout 1667, people cleared rubble and surveyed the burnt area. Some old fire marks can still be seen on London buildings today. Also, firefighters wore brightly coloured uniforms to distinguish themselves from rival insurance brigades. Although this was a step in the right direction, firefighters received little training and the equipment used remained very basic.

Reading IELTS Practice Questions: The Great Fire of London Reading Answers

Reading IELTS: Vocabulary

Q. The synonym of harsh is

Ans. Raspy

Q. The synonym of scarce is

Ans. Insufficient

Q. The synonym of indirect is

Ans. Unintended

Q. The synonym of swept is

Ans. Clean

Q. The synonym of rubble is

Ans. Debris

Q. The antonym of spread is

Ans. Fold up

Q. The antonym of basic is

Ans. Unimportant

Q. The antonym of insure is

Ans. Ensure

Q. The antonym of blow-up is

Ans. Be calm

Q. The antonym of certain is

Ans. Doubtful

Reading IELTS: Fill in The Gaps

Q. The financial losses caused by the fire were estimated to be _____.

Ans.  £10 million

Q. Pepys then spoke to the _____ and they agreed that they should blow up houses in the path of the fire.

Ans. Admiral of the Navy

Q. In the ______, people were not as aware of the dangers of fire as they are today.

Ans. 17th century

Q. The fire spread quickly down ______ and carried on down Fish Hill and towards the Thames.

Ans. Pudding Lane

Q. In the cellar, they found the charred remnants of ______.

Ans. 20 barrels of pitch

Q. As a result of the ______ , early fire brigades were formed by insurance companies.

Ans. Great Fire of London

Q. The Great Fire of London started on ______ in a baker’s shop in Pudding Lane, belonging to Thomas Farynor.

Ans. Sunday, 2 September 1666

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