This session introduces pupils both to The National Archives and to some of the famous documents connected with the Great Fire of London, including the original hearth tax return for Pudding Lane with an entry for Thomas Farrinor, Baker, and his oven!
The workshop is best booked at a time when pupils are near the end of their work on the Great Fire, as it aims to help them gain experience and an understanding of how historians work. The workshop begins with a recap of what the pupils know about the Great Fire. They are then asked to think about how they know this - how do we find out about an event that happened beyond living memory? How can they know that the story they have found out about the Great Fire is true?
Working in small groups, pupils investigate a different document in turn, including original maps of London before and after the fire, and the Hearth Tax return for Pudding Lane (the pupils work with copies, with the originals on display in the room).
They will also meet with Samuel Pepys and listen to a short extract from his diary (Pepys is played by a costumed interpreter and his film footage is shown on the Smart Board in the education room). Pupils examine each document for evidence to see if it supports or disagrees with elements of the story of the Great Fire, recording their findings in their own detective workbook.
Finally, the whole group comes together to decide whether or not the historians have got it right - is the story of the Great Fire true? Finally, we look at ideas for rebuilding London after the fire. Pupils have an opportunity to try writing with a quill pen as they put together a shopping list for Sir Christopher Wren, as he sets out to buy the materials they think he will need to rebuild London.
This session can be delivered as a
- Virtual classroom