The Great Plague

In 1665, death stalked the streets of London, The Great Plague was responsible for killing over 100,000 people which equates to one in three of the cities inhabitants. We know something of the horror of that summer through the diaries and letters which were written by the wealthy literate of the day. This included the likes of Samuel Pepys, a man who kept a daily record of what he saw but hidden in the archive of the English churches are other stories.

Preserved within parish documents are the experiences of ordinary men and women who endured the worst catastrophe of their century. From these fragments we can reconstruct the story of a single street and the people who lived in it. Cock and Key Alley in the parish of St. Dunstan-in-the-West was squeezed into one of the many dank and dissemble yards between Fleet Street and Thames, in a cramped courtyard located behind a tavern, 30 poor families lived and worked, this is their horrific story.


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  1. Really interesting to see how it was to go through the plague back then. Wow-can’t imagine being locked up with your dead/dying family member! I guess we could have had it a lot worse during our own recent plague.

  2. A little too close to home given covid 19. Great doc!