It has been 350 years since London suffered the Great Plague of 1665, in which nearly 100,000 Londoners died. 'London's Dreadful Visitation: The Great Plague, 1665,' is the Guildhall Library's small but impressive exhibit on this devastating event, displaying proclamations, manuscripts and books of this era that document the staggering number of deaths and burials by London parish, including in 'Weekly Bills of Mortality.' In the exhibit, physicians' guides that calmly attempt to warn Londoners of the apparent causes and cures of the plague are juxtaposed with a Puritan cleric's sermon announcing the plague as God's 'dreadful judgement' on sinners. A printed copy of Samuel Pepys' famous Diary is open to a more rational view.
It's very easy to celebrate London's history with trips to famous monuments, museums, parks and buildings, but London really comes alive, ironically, in the documentation here of the dead and dying. Only a short walk away from the Guildhall Library is the Museum of London Archaeology's excavation site at the Liverpool St Crossrail station, at which archaeologists have just found a 1665 plague pit with at least 30 skeletons (http://www.mola.org.uk/blog/crossrail-mass-burial-pit-may-be-great-plague). This Guildhall Library exhibit reminds us why these 30 people and their fellow 99,970 Londoners still matter 350 years later.
Further information on the exhibit can be found here: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/guildhall-library/events-exhibitions/Pages/The-Great-Plague,-1665.aspx