According to the tale, the fire broke out after the king's baker forgot to turn off the oven in his house. The fire burned for five days. Although there were only six victims, the damage – in the form of thousands of buildings, churches and houses – was extensive. After the fire was extinguished, the city's leaders and citizens realized that the great fire of London was so devastating that it destroyed nearly 80 percent of the city's buildings and institutions. The destructive fire combined with the poor condition of the city brought ruin upon London, which was almost completely destroyed.
The damage was so great that the English had to rebuild the city.
The height of the monument is 61 meters, which is also the exact distance from the monument to the bakery where the fire broke out. There is a stairway of 311 steps leading to the balcony at the top of the monument. In the past the terrace was open, but today there are bars that protect against fatal falls. This is because of six individuals who committed suicide by jumping from the monument.
Each foundation of the monument has inscriptions describing different points relating to the fire: In the south, the measures taken by King Charles II following the fire. In the east, there are inscriptions describing the construction of the monument. In the north there are inscriptions describing the outbreak of the fire and the damage done to the city.