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London after the Great Fire: The King’s Evil, by Andrew Taylor, reviewed

11 May 2019

9:00 AM

11 May 2019

9:00 AM

The scene is London in 1667, the city recovering from the Great Fire the year before, with 80,000 people homeless and refugee camps established on the outskirts. Andrew Taylor introduces his readers to life as it survived there and involves them in the politics of Charles II’s court. Cobblestones are ‘slick with rain’, rushlights smell vile because of the rancid fats they were dipped in; in Covent Garden, thieves, peddlers and beggars ply their trades ‘like lice in a head of hair’  — and if you want to travel on a Sunday you must acquire a magistrate’s warrant.

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