Newington pupils ‘experience’ the Great Fire of London

Watching the Great Fire

Houses turned to ash in moments, the face of a city changed, thousands of lives affected forever as the Great Fire of London wreaked havoc.

Now the devastation that became one of Great Britain’s most memorable historic tragedies has been relived by children at Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate.

The Year 1 pupils who are learning about the great fire as part of their history and literacy topic, set to work to create a typical London street scene of 1666.

They fashioned Tudor homes out of card and paper and decorated them to resemble a row of warehouses, businesses and homes.

The street was laid out on safety pallets on the playing fields and gently set alight with pupils watching from a safe distance.

The flames caught hold and spread rapidly through the miniature street, with smoke and fire billowing across the rooftops, leaving charred remains in their wake.

Head teacher Cliff Stokes said: “The children were really involved with the event. Watching their houses caught in an inferno and disappear in moments showed them the severity of the fire. They could hear the flames crackling, feel the heat and smell the smoke.

“Bringing history to life and learning through an experience like this underpins all the excellent classroom teaching. It makes the event more memorable for them and aids their learning.”

Pupils are also recording their own accounts on the great fire in the manner of diarist Samuel Pepys.

Fire Facts:

*The fire began on 2 September and lasted just under five days.

*One-third of London was destroyed and about 100,000 people were made homeless.

*The fire had a devastating effect on the lives of Londoners from all parts of society. It took about 50 years to rebuild the ruined city

Report Peter Barnett