A new £2 coin issued by the Royal Mint captures the drama of the Great Fire of London in 1666, depicting large flames swelling up behind the city.
And it might not be long before you find one among your change, as a circulating version of the £2 coin is expected to be released to the public soon.
The scene of the devastating day was created by Aaron West, one of The Royal Mint’s designers, from the perspective of one of the Londoners who fled to the Thames to escape the blaze.
“I began with the skyline of London, looking at the modern and old to create the design’s central point. The whole scene is viewed as if from one of these boats, gazing back at the chaos on the shore,” he said in a statement.
The Great Fire of London started 350 years ago on Sept. 2 and kept going for four days. It began in a bakery on Pudding Lane run by Thomas Farynor, the King’s baker, and quickly swept through the city, aided by a strong easterly wind. Many fled to the Thames and Hampstead Heath for safety.
The blaze burnt through thousands of homes and left hundreds and thousands of people homeless; though only six deaths were recorded, it is likely to be many more. Over 80 churches, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and part of London Bridge also went up in flames.
While the event was catastrophic and most of the city was destroyed, it wiped out the disease-ridden areas from the Great Plague that had killed a quarter of the capital the year before.
Just around the corner from Pudding Lane near Monument tube station stands the Monument, which was built between 1671 and 1677. The 60-metre-high column and viewing platform was designed by Sir Christopher Wren to celebrate the rebuilding of the city and to commemorate the Great Fire of London.