It was at 4 o'clock in the afternoon of the 4th January in 1698 that women doing her laundry at a riverside house in London placed her clothing too near a fire, within minutes the washing was engulfed in flames as was all the furniture in the room.
The fire soon spread destroying residential and government buildings from the riverside to the Holbein Gate and the Banqueting House, both of which had survived a previous fire in 1691 that had damaged the older palace structures. Of the 1698 fire diarist, John Evelyn wrote
"Whitehall burnt! nothing but walls and ruins left."