Talk:Great Plague of London

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About the great plague of London, I'm not sure, but today in English Litterature the date were 1347-1350 and here they're not the same. I'm not really sure if I got it correct


no wwhat is this all about were is the info about How the Great Plague came about to be?Think next time about what you write I'm looking for info and guess what I can't find what i need thats not helpfull is it?


Lol Aimee.sanderson (talk) 15:34, 6 April 2020 (UTC)

Question on Plague doctorsEdit

re recent edit: Plague doctors would traverse the streets, diagnosing victims, although many of them were unqualified physicians. Were they physicians but unqualified or were they unqualified because they were not physicians? I'll take a look at the article. WBardwin 23:47, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

nope -- that doesn't answer the question either? If qualified doctors left the city, who did that leave? WBardwin 23:49, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Probably change it to "plague doctors," and note that since the qualified doctors left the city, citizens were running around in labcoats? Kiersi (talk) 00:50, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Great fireEdit

On September 2nd and 3rd, the Great Fire of London destroyed many of the most crowded housing and business areas of the city, causing 16 deaths. Only 16 deaths? Am I reading this right? --Steerpike 16:47, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Quite possibly, the fire was said to have destroyed about 13,200 houses, to have levelled about 436 acres and to have made about 100,000 people homeless, but the loss of life was also said to have been very light. Regards, Nick. Nick 19:21, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

The Great Fire of London article itself, though, notes that the claim of the small number of deaths has recently been challenged. 18:22, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Agree with the point by the above user. This article should make reference to the disputed nature of the exact number of deaths. gringotsgoblin 11.41 30 November 2006 (GMT)

Can someone verify the point that Wren's plan for rebuilding London after the fire was adopted. It is my understanding that no plan was followed, and the city was rebuilt largely under the same street pattern. Also, is there some reference that rats were suspected in the plague. We know now that they were, but I understand that at the time this was not generally known. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Don McCahill (talkcontribs) 18:17, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Wording changeEdit

It is stated that thatched rooves are a 'splendid' place for rats to live. This is very informal wording. Could it be replaced with something along the lines of "thatched rooves provide an ideal place for rats to live"? gringotsgoblin 11.43 30 November 2006 (GMT)

This sentence doesn't seem to make much sense: "On September 2nd and 3rd, the Great Fire of London destroyed many of the most crowded housing this however did not cause the decrease of this disease the plague had already died down with only a few people with this plague ." Needs a rewrite.

Fixed: "thatched roofswere"?Rachey (talk) 18:26, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Fixed: Broken link to Shakespeare's Globe Theater reconstruction, though date link is still broken because 1997 doesn't contain exact data. --Wikispherion (talk) 14:23, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Literary Accounts - What Really Belongs Here?Edit

Could someone explain the rationale behind the inclusion of modern novels and other modern works of fiction in the "Literary Accounts" section? I would expect it to contain eyewitness accounts, and, possibly, strictly historiographical research, and not any sort of imaginary, fictional descriptions. Hi There 05:53, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Agree. Pepys and Defoe are first hand and second hand reports. Modern novels belong in a Trivia section, if at all.--JBellis 20:02, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Dogs and Cats Killed?Edit

At one point in Defoe's Journal he reports that the authorities ordered that all dogs and cats in London were to be killed, on the assumption that they could be plague carriers. But if the rats were actually suspects at the time, wouldn't it have made more sense to leave the dogs and cats alive so they could kill the rats? Anyone have any ideas on this? Farnsworth1968 18:04, 10 July 2007 (UTC)Farnsworth1968

This is interesting, it should be included in the article. Kiersi (talk) 00:51, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

If it was bubonic plague, fleas were the vector, not rats, the fleas lived on rats - as well as cats, dogs and other people. (talk) 07:47, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

This of course is OR. Rich Farmbrough, 20:44, 25 April 2011 (UTC).


Wondering if it'd be worth having at least a mention about the aftermath of the Great Plague. I remember bieng taught back in school that it was one of the final blows for the feudal system as reforms were required to rebuild the country after such a crisis. As I said, this is something I learnt in school. I'm not a researcher, but was just curious about whether anybody else had any more information on this. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:10, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

You are confusing the "Black Death" of the medieval period with the outbreak in London of 1666. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:13, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

nonetheless, this plague seems to have caused a major economic recession because it completely disrupted trade.Sandpiper (talk) 23:31, 14 February 2014 (UTC)


"Under the mistaken idea that rats may have caused the plague, thatched roofs (which provided an ideal place for rats to live) were forbidden within the city"

Although rats did not directly cause the plague it is likely that they were some sort of carrier, so shouldn't this sentence be re-worded? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jamie Kitson (talkcontribs) 12:31, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

The introduction states that rats were the vector. It makes perfect sense to remove rats if they are the plague's vector, yet that passage seems to claim that rats had nothing to do with the plague, and measures against them were useless against the plague. I put a contradiction tag on the article. -- 23:35, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

I believe it's been proven since that rats were in fact carriers of the Plague, yet it was mistakenly believed that dogs and cats were carriers leading to their widespread extermination. However my source is a documentary [[1]], not sure if this is considered a reliable source for an encyclopedia article. Rachey (talk) 18:30, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

According to the wikipedia entry on the Black Death, Y. pestis was almost certainly carried by rats and the decline of plague is pretty much to do with the large decrease in the rat population. (talk) 21:37, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

The problem with this is that the article says they aren't sure if it was actually the Black Death. Kiersi (talk) 00:55, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

It's also been theorised that the reason the epidemic lasted as long as it did, is because many people killed cats and dogs under the mistaken belief that they carried the plague, when in fact dogs and cats were invaluable in killing the rats which spread the bacteria.Rachey (talk) 19:30, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Read the wikipedia article on Black Death and Bubonic Plague. The vector is fleas (transmitted by flea bites) which can live on most warm-blooded animals, including human beings. Rats are the reservoir of the disease (the bacteria can live in the blood of rats without causing the disease). Bubonic plague also mutates into an airborne form, Pneumonic plague. (talk) 07:54, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

However, fleas typically tend to be specific to one host species and not swap unless desperate.Sandpiper (talk) 23:35, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Plague and PoetryEdit

I have deleted this section as it clearly does not refer to the Great Plague. Shakespeare had by this point been dead for half a century. It may be refering to the plague of 1603, however. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:49, 11 May 2008 (UTC)


Theres a nice image for this article here Parrot of Doom (talk) 23:25, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Great Plague of where?Edit

It is rather bizzare that this is called the Great Plague of London and then talks about England. I have only ever heard the term Great Plague (of 1665). Is this because the Black Death has also oddly been labled the Great Plague?--Sabrebd (talk) 09:01, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Ok I need to find out now how the Great Plague came to be because it's my homework. Can enybody help me —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:32, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

It is generally assumed that Rattus rattus (the brown rat) carried it ashore from ships in the port of London. Whether this is current scholarship I can't say. (But see also now deprecated theories that the Rattus norvegicus, the black rat, by driving out he brown rat, reduced the prevalence of the bubonic plague.) Rich Farmbrough, 20:46, 25 April 2011 (UTC).

Death tollEdit

The article fails to note that seemingly no two historians actually agree on how many were killed. I've seen figures as low as 40,000 and as high as 120,000. (talk) 04:53, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Its a common problem on Wikipedia articles that the original author takes an estimate from the first book they work from and then it stays there because it is sourced. If you have the details of books with different estimates feel free to put them in and relfect the debate.--SabreBD (talk) 08:31, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Extensive bills of mortality survive. Clearly there are problems of interpretation. Rich Farmbrough, 20:55, 25 April 2011 (UTC).

GA ReviewEdit

This review is transcluded from Talk:Great Plague of London/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: LT910001 (talk · contribs) 06:28, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Hello, I'm LT910001 and occasionally contribute to these GA reviews. I haven't contributed or edited this article.

Initial Comments   Done

I will make some initial comments:

  • I find this article very engaging to read.
  • I don't think this article is ready for GA status.

To elaborate on these points, I think this article would be ready for GA status when:

  • It included a Society & Culture section to reflect how the Great Death was reflected in the arts, politics, philosophy and any other relevant sphere of society and/or medicine.
  • It included an Impact section to reflect the impact of the Great Death on society.
  • The "Background" section is either tighter or compartmentalised into different subsections.

From a medical perspective, I would love to have this article compartmentalised into sections outlining the risk factors for the epidemic, transmission vectors and so forth, but I think that the current historical narrative format, with a bit of tightening, reflects this. Given this is a historical article I think this could be said to be an appropriate format.

I welcome any feedback and in the meantime have upgraded the article to C class. Kind Regards, LT90001 (talk) 06:28, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your comments and taking on this review. I will work on the points you raise but would point out that the Great Plague of London was essentially localised to London and was one of a series of outbreaks of plague over a period of 400 years. Other parts of the UK were relatively unaffected in 1665-6 and the court moved to Oxford where they continued their jolifications. This epidemic in London was followed a year later by the Great Fire of London which also devastated the city. I think it would be difficult therefore to produce a Society and Culture section as you suggest, but I might manage an Impact section. I will work on your third suggestion of creating subsections in the Background section. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 09:12, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Yep, in case you don't know there's a very nifty tag ({{Seealso|article to see}}) that allows editors to refer to write a short summary of a topic whilst noting the body is on another article. {{Main|article's name here}} is similarly useful. LT90001 (talk) 09:36, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I have subdivided the Background section and added an Impact section.
I really do not think a " Society & Culture section to reflect how the Great Death was reflected in the arts, politics, philosophy and any other relevant sphere of society and/or medicine" is suitable for this article. It would be more suitable for the article Black Death in England. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 09:41, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi, fair enough. I had a look at Great Fire of London for comparison, and I'd have to say I'm a better med reviewer than historiographical reviewer. That said, I'll get back to you in a day or two with some more thorough analysis (read: copyedit, citation-type stuff), but would have to say with some reflection, having had a look at the Great Fire article, and seeing the changes you've made, I quite support this article's nomination to GA status.

The Review ProperEdit

Overall a great article; please have a strong cup of tea (or other beverage) before viewing what I have written below! LT90001 (talk) 13:23, 3 September 2013 (UTC)


Lede   Done
  • As with the rest of your prose, I find this very clear and easy to read.
  • "modern day" -> "modern-day"   Done
  • link "Second Pandemic" to it's own article or subsection, certainly is important enough   Done
  • "Bubonic plague is a disease caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium which is usually transmitted through the bite of an infected rat flea, the prime vector of Y. pestis."   Done
    • This is uncited
    • Suggest comma after "bacterium"
    • "the prime vector of Y pestis" is a little tautological as you just say "usually transmitted" in the preceding clause.


Background   Done
  • London
    • I quite like the overall introduction to London as a squalid, over-crowded city.
    • "It was a city of great contrasts " (add comma)   Done
    • suggest change from "sixty" to "many dozens of", sixty is a little specific and surely there was some yearly variation.   Done
    • "There was no sanitation" (comma)   Done
    • Recording of Deaths": This feels a little premature, as the rest of the article is in chronological order and this makes mention of the current plague and also previous plagues, also in reverse chronological order. Maybe you could move to the end of the 'outbreak' section?
See next comment. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 20:02, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
    • "Previous epidemics" doesn't feel right here either. Maybe move to aftermath section, or reorder so that the previous epidemics part comes first (so that everything is chronological)
I moved these two sections to after the "Outbreak" section but they did not seem right there, so I returned them to their original location. In my opinion, the information on deaths and how they were recorded is part of the background information you need to know to understand what follows. I have edited it and it no longer mentions past epidemics. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 20:02, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Good point. LT90001 (talk) 05:58, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
      • "Some previous outbreaks were the 1603 plague, which killed 30,000 people in the capital,[10] the 1625 plague with some 35,000 deaths, " probably should be "which killed about 30,000" and "around 35,000." There is no way to be sure precisely this amount were killed (as you discuss later in the article).
Done. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 20:02, 6 September 2013 (UTC)


Outbreak   Done
  • Early Days
    • Wikilink "Netherlands"   Done
    • ships carrying bales of cotton from Amsterdam " (comma)   Done
    • suggest wikilink "Bills of Mortality ", this is quite important to the article.   Done
    • "These did not appear as plague deaths on the Bills of Mortality " (comma)   Done
    • suggest reword "showed a dramatic increase" to "marked increase", as you go on to state that it less than doubled (I guess 'dramatic' is in the eyes of the beholder)   Done
    • By the end of April only four plague deaths had been recorded " (comma) ?  Done
    • Suggest wikilink 'parish'.   Done
    • "the winter had been a hard one" feels a little too narrative. I'd welcome your opinion on this point, sometimes the wonderful prose seems a little too narrative for an encyclopedia.   discussed above
    • Suggest "in the suburbs" -> "part of the suburbs" to formalise this a little (sounds a little colloquial otherwise)   Done
    • Pepys' first mention here should be full name and wikilinked.  Done
    • I will discuss the citation for Pepys' quote below.   Done
    • Other than as a character study, is this relevant? "By June 10, Pepys was writing: "In the evening home to supper, and there to my great trouble hear that the plague is come into the City (though it hath these three or four weeks since its beginning been wholly out of the City); but where it begin but in my good friend and neighbour's, Dr Burnett in Fenchurch Street - which in both points troubles me mightily".[16] Dr Burnett voluntarily had his house shut up as soon as he had diagnosed the disease within. It was closed for two months during which time his servant died but the doctor himself survived. On emerging, he continued his medical work among the poor including plague victims only to become reinfected and die at the end of August.[17]" suggest remove, as this quote isn't that strong anyway.   Done
  • Exodus
    • The first paragraph is uncited.   Done
    • "most wealthy merchants and professionals fled" would like to know if this is a primary or secondary observation (ie was this an impression or is this a statistic?) perhaps replace with a quote.  Done
Great quote! LT90001 (talk) 11:09, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
    • Again "only a small number of clergymen, physicians and apothecaries remained to cope " is this a primary or secondary source? How many were 'small' and who said this?   Done
    • Sentence "Among the people who chose to stay were Samuel Pepys, who had an important position at the Admiralty and Henry Foe, a saddler who lived in East London. " could be moved up to the first time Pepys is mentioned.   Done
    • "While Pepys provides an account of the Plague through his diary, Henry Foe's nephew Daniel Defoe published A Journal of the Plague Year, a fictional account of the plague, in 1722, possibly based on Foe's journals." feels out of place here. Perhaps could move to the first time Pepys' is mentioned, making a note with a citation from a secondary source that these two sources provide a majority of the first-hand accounts of the plague.   Done
    • "The poor people " do you mean townsfolk here? (as you state later in the paragraph), if retain "poor" suggest -> "Poorer people".   Done
    • "The poor people were alarmed by the contagion and some left the city, but the idea of abandoning their accommodation and livelihoods for an uncertain future elsewhere persuaded many to remain. " I think without a quote from a primary source this is a difficult assertion to make.   discussed above
  • "Before leaving through the city gates, they were required to possess a certificate of good health signed by the Lord Mayor and these became increasingly difficult to obtain" I wonder if this increase the speed of plague transmission to nearby areas (as healthy people can still carry fleas).
  • Height
    • "the Bill of Mortality " suggest "the (London?) Bill of Mortality"   Done
    • "3,014 deaths in London " (comma)  Done
    • Meaning here is unclear: "the plague victim figures are likely to be underestimated as deaths at this time of year were normally around 300". Do you mean: "The London Bill of Mortality of the last week of July showed 3,014 deaths, of which 2,020 were recorded as dying from the plague. The number of deaths as a result of plague may have been underestimated, as deaths in other years in the same period were much lower, at around 300."  Done
    • "Bring out your dead" would be nice if this could Wikilink somewhere, but this is just a personal thing as I think it's got cultural significance.
    • Here you state "the authorities" but this is quite non-specific. Do you mean local church authorities, medical authorities, agents of the crown, stemming from a direct royal imperative, etc.?   discussed below
    • "As time went on, there were too many victims, and too few drivers" Would be interesting to know if this was because the drivers kept dying of plague.
    • "The parish authorities at Aldgate " -> "For example, in the parish at Aldgate" (or some such)   Done
    • As a medical reviwer, "cadavers" connotes a corpse in a medical context, such as one to be dissected or autopsied. Suggest (but not insist!) change to "corpses"   Done
    • "unqualified physicians." I think a better word might be "formally trained", as from my (limited) understanding here or here, for discussion of sizeable non-qualified practicing 'physicians', there were no formal qualification structures at the time, simply licensing, word-of-mouth, and training.   Done
    • "demented victims" suggest change "demented" with its neurological connotations to another adjective, maybe "desperate dying"   Done
    • Has occurred to me that it hasn't been stated what the mortality rate of the plague was.
    • "running or crawling around, crying out in pain or lying in comas in doorways" probably should be a quote from another source, this is too subjective to be written as it is.   sentence removed
    • "Sir John Lawrence and the Corporation of London " wikilink.   Done
    • New 'food' paragraph suggested to start here: "That people did not starve was..."   paragraph altered
    • "Records state that plague deaths in London ...between 30% and over 50%.[26]" great analysis. *** Suggest move some content in "Previous epidemics in London" after this paragraph, as it neatly follows what you've just written.


Aftermath   Done
  • "The streets were thronged with grand carriages and carts piled high with the belongings of the gentry" should be a quote; too subjective.   Done
  • "London was the goal of a new wave of people who flocked to the city in expectation of making their fortunes" better if quote.   ok, there is some wiggle room for narrative discretion!
  • "destroyed much of the City of London " (comma)   Done
  • Suggest move "Though concentrated in London, ... the death of around 75% of its inhabitants.[27]" to after the paragraph "Plague cases continued to occur sporadically ...City of London itself that was destroyed by the Fire.[24]", as it follows quite nicely.   Done
  • "were 68,596 " -> "were in total 68, 596"   Done
  • small thing: "both of whom " -> "of whom, both had stayed" to remove the ambiguity about 'both' meaning Lord Clarendon + Gumble.   Done


Impact   Done
  • Excellent summary.
  • No mention of 'ring a ring of rosies' which is a nursery rhyme commonly (I believe) misattributed to have arisen during this time. Perhaps could add this as a link in the 'see also' section.   Done


Citations   Done
  • "^ "An Act for rebuilding the City of London". British history online. Retrieved 2013-09-02." should cite to the original document, rather than the website that holds the document.
I think I have done what you wanted. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:56, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
  • "^ "Eyam Plague". Eyam Plague Village. 2008. Retrieved 2013-04-05." would prefer an impartial source (ie. one that is not eyam village's website)
Done. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:56, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Much better. Citing from a tourist-orientated website could have been a bit suss. LT90001 (talk) 06:06, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
  • "^ a b "The Great Plague 1665-66". Inside Guide to London. Retrieved 2013-04-05." this is not a reliable source, and does not provide any references.
Replaced. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:56, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
  • "^ a b "Diary of Samuel Pepys (30 Apr 1665)". Dictionary of Science Quotations. Retrieved 2013-03-23." should link to the original diary. You can provide a URL link in the citation finackery to the website, but the citation should be to the document itself.
Done. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:56, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
  • "^ E. Social, economic, and political impacts of the plague on Eurasia and Africa, New York State Education Department" is similarly not reliable; the source they use should be used.
Done. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 20:03, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
  • "^ "London and the Great Plague of 1665". 2007-03-30. Retrieved 2012-12-18." again, not a reliable source. Where are these numbers derived from? Surely and the NY state education department didn't do the counting themselves.
Removed this information and replaced it with other information from the Porter book. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 20:03, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Great, these sources are looking much better. LT90001 (talk) 06:06, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Not too sure, but I think it would be appropriate to cite the names of the authors of the articles on the websites that you're using, as this level of scholarship would be more appropriate for this historiographical article.


In conclusion, overall I find this article an engaging and well-written! On deeper inspection there are two things I think need to be fixed to move to GA status.

  • Firstly, the sources used need to be better. Unsourced tertiary reports can't be relied upon (WP:SCHOLARSHIP), and quotations should be taken from the initial source where possible (WP:RS)
  • Secondly, there are occasional deviations into imputing the motive for actions. Such statements would be better represented by a quote from a primary source, rather than a factual statement, as it's very hard to make this statement objectively without strong evidence.

Despite this, I hope you're not deterred by the large amount of comments I have made above! Most are very small, and this article is very good. Kind Regards, LT90001 (talk) 13:23, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

I have made many but not all of the alterations you have suggested above. I could remove some of the bits where I attribute motives to people. However, I am not a historian and normally write articles on Biology. I have no access to original documents and will be quite unable to fulfil most of your suggestions on citations. I was inspired to work on the article by the book by James Leasor. He mentions "authorities" in various places but I know nothing of local government at the time. Though I might guess it was the Corporation of London who gave the orders, I don't know whether that was the case. Seeing that I am not going to succeed to get this to GA status as outlined by you, I think I had better abandon the idea. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 20:16, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Nooo-ooooo! I'd hate to have deterred an article this close to GA from pursuing GA by virtue of my review! To be clear, this review is intended as a to-and-fro, not just a reviewer prescribing what's "right", so please feel free to disagree with some of the points I raise and I'll happily demur (for example of another review, see Talk:Aphthous stomatitis/GA1). For example, what you say about Leasor not mentioning who the "authorities" are is quite legitimate, I didn't realise that - so there's no way to change that. With the sources, you actually cite the original diary in section, so you can alter the two website diary citations to that one, and although it may take a week or two to find a more reliable source for the other things, you could use google or google scholar to find a more original source. There's no requirement that this article respond to a review in one day (or at all!) and I'd be happy to wait a week or two (or more) while you find some sources (considering we also all have an extra-wiki life!) LT90001 (talk) 22:23, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
So, have faith! This is a really good article and deserves to be GA-nominated, and I would lastly like to note one very good indication of this is that it seems to be, word-for-word, providing the majority of the blogging internet's and other wikis musings on the Black Death (this article came first!)... so, it certainly can't be that bad! LT90001 (talk) 22:23, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
OK. I will work on making further improvements over the next week or so. It occurred to me (thinking about the matter in bed) that as the GA criteria do not require an article to be comprehensive, I can omit entirely any bit to which I cannot find an acceptable source, as long as I leave a cohesive whole that covers the main points of the subject.
With regard to one of the points you made, I am not sure about the death rate and will do some research. My guess is that the drivers of dead-carts may have been resistant to the disease or perhaps had already had it and recovered. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 05:05, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Yep, that was just a tangential comment :). I look forward to your changes and will be happy to continue the review when you're ready. LT90001 (talk) 10:01, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
I have now dealt with all your comments (I think) apart from the last section on "Citations" which I will work through next. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 12:50, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
I've done a census of the changes made to keep track of everything. I'll await your changes to the citations section and, seeing as Leasor is a pretty important part of this review, see if I can get my hands on a copy to verify 3-4 of your references. LT90001 (talk) 12:26, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for your recent edits. I think this article meets the good article criteria (WP:GACR); namely, that it is well-written, verifiable, broad, neutral, stable and illustrated, and am therefore promoting it to Good Article status. LT90001 (talk) 06:40, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you for the thorough and detailed review. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:25, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

observation on the article.Edit

In the section 'recording of death' the article says ' The credulous blamed emanations from the earth'.... My question would be what did the questioning and reasoning believe? Seems to me from what I have read of the time, they believed exactly the same. No one understood the true explanation, so it is misleading to suggest only the 'credulous' believed these things.Sandpiper (talk) 10:20, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Well, everyone may have been credulous! What do you suppose Pepys thought about it? Whatever he believed, he took the precaution of sending his wife out of London. I guess rat fleas don't normally bite humans but because this strain of the disease was particularly virulent it may have killed most of the rats and the fleas were forced to turn to other sources of blood. The way in which the disease struck some and not others must have seemed very mysterious. Anyway, change the wording of the article if you want. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 06:16, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
I think I rather like Pepys. Something I read today discussed him, and said Pepys had remarked when he was sharing a bed with someone, the someone got bitten by fleas and he didnt. The author relating this suggested that maybe this was why Pepys survived. Might have been a wiki article somewhere, there seem to be quite a few generally about plague, but I havnt found anything yet such as a genetic study tracking this particular strain to England in 1665. Reading Bell's book suggest that maybe plague was enedemic in Britain, but a new strain might have arrived from the continent.Sandpiper (talk) 00:00, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

not much about places other than London, or 1666Edit

Someone above comments on the 'great plague of where'? This title question didnt really get addressed and there is an issue. Presumably this article is intended to be about the entire outbreak in England, and while London was 20x bigger than any other city so the largest number of all deaths were in London, it did break out as severely in other places and over an extensive area of the south and east of the country and in other major cities. Other areas are not really mentioned in the article.

Also, the introduction describes it as the plague of 64-66, which seems correct. Significant deaths (at least on a normal standard) occurred in London in 1666, and outbreaks in other places tended to spread from London so reached their worst later. I suspect the article has been expanded from an original short article which took into account the time spread of the epidemic, but expansion has concentrated on London and 1665. Sandpiper (talk) 09:28, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

originating pointEdit

Article says "The dock areas outside London and the parish of St Giles in the Fields, where poor workers were crowded into ill-kept structures, are believed to be the first areas to be struck." Reading up on this I see St Giles in the fields seems to be on the landward side of London and the books I have read so far do not really link it to any docks. This seems a bit anomalous.Sandpiper (talk) 09:37, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Well, I expanded the article from a much smaller one in March 2013, as you can see from the "history" of the article. My expansion was restricted to London because that is what the book I was using as a principal source was discussing. I acknowledge that there were connected outbreaks in other parts of the country, but this article is about London. The statement "The dock areas outside London and the parish of St Giles in the Fields, where poor workers were crowded into ill-kept structures, are believed to be the first areas to be struck." does not state that there are dock areas in the parish of St Giles in the Fields, but I will reword the article. (I no longer have the book as I took it to a charity shop!) Cwmhiraeth (talk) 11:54, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I suspected it was really the limit of the source. Typical problem, one author writes about what interests them. I dont know that the docks/ st giles thing is wrong, I just dont know its right. Ive got the porter and Bell books and didnt really get this link from what they say. Some of the books seem to be first person accounts, which maybe limits their scope. Dont know, havnt read them. Bell subtitles his book the great plague in London, but porter talks more about the rest of the country. This article is titled 'great plague in London', but it seems to be wikis only article about the 1665 England plague, and as such needs to explain it didnt just happen in London. I dont know if historically this outbreak is described as the ...of London, or whether this is just because some authors have concentrated on describing London events. The cause of plague generally seems to be that it spread from Holland, but it isnt clear to me either it was proven to de-ship in London, or whether some book aserts that it did. Porter in particular talks about other places and at least left me with the impression it could have arrived in the UK through a different port. All trade seems to have passed through London one way or another, so people might have brought it from some place where the ourbreak started earlier, and it seems to have been active elsewhere in England even in 64.Sandpiper (talk) 23:13, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
This article exists with London in its title. Why don't you create a new article on the wider outbreak? Cwmhiraeth (talk) 06:00, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
I dont see that there is sufficient material for more than one article about one outbreak (not yet, anyway!). It is an artificial limitation to just write about London. I havn't seen a similar detailed source about the plague in Portsmouth, the plague in Great Yarmouth, the plague in... and wiki would not want one article on each place for every outbreak. Porter's book, for example, has 45 pages specifically about London and 35 about other places. 60 about general issues which apply nationwide and 30 about consequences of this outbreak, again national in scope.Sandpiper (talk) 08:18, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Another point, you have added an image of the black rat with a lengthy, unreferenced caption. The article nowhere mentions the species of rat nor some of the other facts in the caption. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 11:59, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Thats true. This article overlaps others on wiki which go into plague generally, but the basic facts of fleas and rats would appear to be the same in each outbreak. Needs to be explained for completeness. With more text the article will need more images, and the rat is an obvious one. So far in what I have read, the precise causes are a little vague. Ok, rats and fleas, but did people transmit it from place to place by personal contact, fleas on old clothing, rats in ships? I just added a piece about quarrantine, but I wonder whether even on a quarrantined ships their might still be infected animals. The appearance of a centuries long outbreak, and then its disappearance would still seem to be a bit of a mystery. Something changed which stopped the spread of plague such that this was the last 'great' outbreak. 23:13, 14 February 2014 (UTC)Sandpiper (talk)
Interestingly Porter suggests one reason for the stop of outbreaks might be that all the rats had died, thus plague declined in London in the 1666 season although it was plainly still present, or the remaining rats developed immunity. He suggests rat fleas only abandon their host if it dies, so the state of epidemic in the rats might be defining the length of the human epidemic. Mortality in London had not been so high as in other places, so there were still people available to catch it.08:33, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Fire of LondonEdit

I'm a great inclusionist, but I dont really see what the fire and rebuilding afterwards had to do with the plague. The part of the city least affected by plague was probably that within the walls, which was the part which burnt, and in fact some of the slummiest parts where plague was greatest even within the walls, survived. So it apparently didnt contribute to safer living conditions or the disappearance of plague in the future.Sandpiper (talk) 18:02, 15 February 2014 (UTC)


In the last paragraph of the Height of the epidemic section, it says: the outbreak affected other areas of the country as well. Perhaps the most famous example was the village of Eyam in Derbyshire. The plague allegedly arrived with a merchant carrying a parcel of cloth sent from London, although this is a disputed point. The villagers imposed a quarantine on themselves to stop the further spread of the disease. This prevented the disease from moving into surrounding areas but the cost to the village was the death of around 80% of its inhabitants over a period of fourteen months.

However, this does not seem to be consistent with the Eyam page (

Here it says: The plague ran its course over 14 months and one account states that it killed at least 260 villagers, with only 83 surviving out of a population of 350. This figure has been challenged on a number of occasions with alternative figures of 430 survivors from a population of around 800 being given. The church in Eyam has a record of 273 individuals who were victims of the plague.

Anyone know what we should do about this?

I'm putting this on the Eyam talk page as well.

Adlihtam (talk) 17:09, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

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