Fire of London Day

Year 2 were delighted to welcome History off the Page for an exciting and informative day about the Great Fire of London. The morning started with Mistress Fiona taking us back in time to a hot and windy September day in 1666. 

With everyone in costume, it was easy to imagine being in another era and the children quickly settled to a range of activities that would have occupied people in that time. We all had a go at being leather workers, weavers, scriveners, apothecaries, button makers and chandlers.  There was great excitement as they made ink, wrote with quills, concocted cures for a range of illnesses using herbs and spices, chopped off diseased limbs, created leather bookmarks, made beeswax candles  and clay moulds for buttons.  The morning was interrupted by the plague doctor and apprentice ringing their bell and shouting ‘Bring out your dead!’  Nobody was keen to admit to harbouring a plague victim as that resulted in the windows and doors of the house being nailed shut for 30 days.

There was also an official ‘rat catcher’ who had to deal with the many rats hiding around the classrooms. A quick knock on the rats’ heads soon resolved this problem and we were confident that Home Farm would not be infected with the plague.

The afternoon was taken up with investigative work involving dig boxes. As a range of artefacts was gradually uncovered, the children had to work out the occupation of the owners.  We were then provided with the deeds of the house which confirmed our conclusions.

Throughout the day, Mistress Fiona gathered the children together for story-telling and was full of interesting and quirky facts. One of the favourites was that when the Mayor was first informed of the fire, he said that it was so small that it could be put out by a woman weeing on it!  How wrong he was!  By the time the fire was over, 13,200 homes had been destroyed and 100,000 people were homeless.

It was a fascinating day thoroughly enjoyed by staff and children alike.

KM