London’s burning, London’s burning! - Hurstpierpoint College

London’s burning, London’s burning!

Year 2 children experienced a wonderful immersive day of history during their recent Great Fire of London workshop with Hands on History. The children relished the opportunity to handle a range of artefacts, including armour, helmets, swords, guns, and uniform that would have belonged to an officer helping keep order during the days that the fire raged. They also investigated different jobs that people did during the 17th century by looking at a range of tools and resources that would have been used by a locksmith, carpenter, leather worker, cartographer, and in an apothecary.

The children enjoyed making bread and thinking about what the bakery in Pudding Lane would have been like. They also experienced first-hand how the embers in the fireplace could have started a fire, as they witnessed how sparks can be made and oxygen could fuel the flames in the dry straw.

During the afternoon activities, pupils made replica 17th century houses out of card and worked brilliantly in teams to use ping-pong balls to simulate passing water in buckets down a human chain to put out the fire. The final activity saw the children explore the real furs and skulls of wildlife that may have lived in and around London during 1666 and they considered the diseases that would have been carried by rats throughout the city. A surprise visit from Samuel Pepys (a fancy-dressed Mr Oakden) was a highlight as the children enjoyed learning about what clothing was worn in during this period.