Great Fire of London
We offer a choice of Great Fire of London workshops (click the link for each listing):
- An in-school day that lets the children experience life during the fire first-hand
- A virtual workshop that allows to learn about the fire from those who survived it, including famed diarist Samuel Pepys
London bustles in 1666. Rampant growth results in closely built timber-frame buildings crowded within the ancient city walls. The city survived an outbreak of bubonic plague the previous year, and the city’s population hopes the worst is over.
But a fire burns in a Pudding Lane bakery.
The children start the morning by becoming apprentices on the streets of London, learning skills common for workers of the era: leather working, metal working, sewing, etc.
As the children learn their trades, the fire spreads. With the flames drawing closer, the children must take action to stop it, including forming fire lines and tearing down local buildings. Will their efforts be enough?
(View our risk assessment of the day’s activities in a new tab.)
In the afternoon, the children excavate what is left of the charred city, looking for personal belongings and important legal documents that can help the city start the process of rebuilding.
How You Contribute to the Day
To make the most of your children’s day, please help us with the following:
- Adult helpers: The number of children participating determines how many work stations our Teacher brings. Please recruit a corresponding number of adults (teachers, TAs, parents) to oversee the activities and the afternoon session. (Your booking form lists the exact number needed.)
- The school hall: Please reserve the school hall for the full day (it is not a problem if it is used for lunch).
- Costumes: Please encourage the children to dress up in simple costumes. It helps them feel the part.
Please note that we still require adult helpers for in-school days. If this conflicts with your schools coronavirus policies, please let us know — a virtual workshop might be a better option for your school.
What to Wear
Costumes need not be complicated — we suggest the following “homemade” alternatives:
- Boys: A large plain shirt with a large collar and a belt or cord around the waist; a plain waistcoat, if you have one; and plain, dark, baggy trousers (such as track suit bottoms) tucked into long socks.
- Girls: A plain shirt with a large collar; a long, preferably plain skirt; a man’s plain waistcoat, if you have one; a plain white apron; flat, sturdy shoes; and a plain white head scarf.
For those who prefer, we offer a bespoke costume service through History Off the Peg. We sell inexpensive costumes for both children and adults.
View costume options and pricing on our website, www.historyoffthepeg.co.uk. Place an order by sending an e-mail containing your name, your school, the date of the event, the topic, your child’s age and your child’s size to email@example.com.
Welcome to The Swan, a London tavern. It is October 1666, and the recent “Great Fire” is all anyone can talk about. Landlord John Wilkins has heard it all – especially from his most famous guest, diarist Samuel Pepys. And Mr Wilkins is happy to share what he has heard as the city works to recover from the fire.
Topics covered during the discussion include:
- The impact of the fire on residents.
- Samuel Pepy’s diary entries about the fire.
- Methods residents tried against the fire.
- Possible causes of the fire.
- How King Charles II and the Duke of York responded to the fire.
- How the fire progressed.
- The creation of fire insurance.
- London’s first steps at recovery after the fire.
How Does the Workshop Work?
The new workshops consist of two key elements:
- A box packed with individual activities kits for each child in your group (plus a few extra, just in case). The kits contain up to six activities, which the children can do at their own desks.
- A pre-recorded video made by our knowledgeable teachers that leads the children through the narrative and gives purpose to the activities they do along the way.
The workshops can take place in your own room at your own pace – we give you access to the video for several days, so you can rewind, replay, or break up the activities as you see fit.
Our school trials so far indicate that they can fill up to half a day.
For a small additional fee, you can also choose to add on an hour of “live” teaching time with one of our qualified teachers. This extra time, which takes place via video conferencing software, is a chance to add extra engagement to the day – the children can prepare questions, take notes from the answers, discuss artefacts and explore the materials used to make them, and generally probe further into the learning.
What Activities are Included?
As mentioned, each child will receive an activities kit to match the video. There are a few basic supplies such as PVA glue, scissors, and pencils that the school will need to provide, but otherwise the children will receive the necessary materials to make five projects:
- A weaving sample
- Scent bags
- A pottery candleholder
- A thank-you note
- A fire insurance plaque made with copper foil
The workshop will also come with an information sheet for teachers, which will detail the learning outcomes, extra supplies that might be needed and possible follow-up learning.
How Much Does a Virtual Workshop Cost?
The pricing scheme is straightforward. We charge £300.00 for the first 30 children, plus £6.00 for each additional child (the costs are inclusive of 20% VAT, which the school can claim back.) Shipping is free.
The optional hour of video conferencing with one of our knowledgeable teachers can be purchased for an additional £60.00 (incl. 20% VAT).
How Do I Book a Workshop?
Please feel free to contact us by form, e-mail or telephone. Let us know the week you would like to use the workshop, and whether you would like the optional live teaching time, and we are happy to help.
Since the virtual workshops do not depend on our diary, there is no limit on when they can be ordered. Once full payment is received, we can turn them around and get them into schools within days. (Or they can be ordered well ahead and delivery scheduled – it is very flexible.)