Named after Peter Bere, a local landowner, who came to wider attention when on July 23, 1794 a conflagration took hold of the then hamlet of Ratcliff destroying a large number properties in the vicinity. The blaze, said to be the biggest London had seen since the Great Fire of 1666 and the Blitz of World War Two, began when a barrel of pitch boiled over at Clovers Barge Yard, Cock Hill. The liquid material set fire to the yard’s buildings with the flames quickly spreading to a nearby barge loaded with saltpetre, used for gunpowder and matches. The resulting explosion sent flames raining down on the surrounding area, including an East India Company warehouse which was storing saltpetre for transfer to the Tower of London causing yet further devastation. Remarkably amongst the ruins, one property, belonging to Mr Bere survived.
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