The Great Fire of London

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By Janice Hamilton a deputy headteacher and associate literacy teacher.

Fuel your children’s creativity with these fresh and inspiring activities

Post boy

Letters and parcels were carried by post boys

The Great Fire of London is one of those topics that comes round again and again. As such, it can be difficult to think of new and creative ways of keeping the topic fresh and exciting. What follows are some ideas I have tried with my own class; giving children more of a flavour for life in 17th-century London; from communication and letter writing to a delicious recipe for shortbread, all these ideas can easily be adapted to suit the age and abilities of your own class.

1. Delivering the mail

Talk about the different ways in which we are able to communicate with each other – telephone, email, mobile phone, letter, picture messaging and so on. List ideas on a whiteboard or flipchart.

Explain to the children that at the time of the Great Fire of London, the only way that people could communicate was to either send a message verbally or to write a letter. Paper in those days was very expensive and made by hand. Documents were often written on parchment which was dried and cleaned animal skin. Vellum was an expensive form of parchment made from the skin of calves.

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