Teaching resources cast new light on The Great Fire of London

The University of Leicester and the Museum of London have today launched new learning resources for primary schools about the Great Fire of London and seventeenth-century history.

The resources show a variety of Londoners at the time of the Great Fire, with a particular focus on Deaf history. A comic, animations, and teachers’ guides offer new ways to teach this famous event and exciting stories to interest children.

The project was led by Dr Kate Loveman, Associate Professor of English at Leicester, in collaboration with the Museum of London’s Learning Team. Dr Loveman is an expert on Samuel Pepys whose diary of the 1660s offers lively accounts of life in Restoration London.

Pepys’s diary includes one of the first detailed descriptions of a signed conversation in English – which just happens to be about another frightening fire in 1666.

Using original research on Pepys’s diary, the project team ran history workshops with London schools for deaf children. They worked with primary school teachers to develop the teaching packs.  One pack offers Great Fire materials for National Curriculum Key Stage 1 teaching and the other focuses on Deaf history.

In June and July the Museum is running in-person and online events for teachers about teaching the Great Fire and Deaf history.

The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The new resources launched on the Museum of London website today.

Dr Kate Loveman said: "Samuel Pepys is famous for his description of the Great Fire, and especially for recording how he buried his parmesan cheese to protect it from the flames.

“But his diary also tells us about the lives of others, such as young people, women, and Black Londoners.

“For instance, he describes a deaf boy signing about another fire in 1666 that terrified Londoners.

“It’s been tremendous working with schools to explore some of these stories. We hope our teaching resources will catch the imagination of children across the country, and help make one of their first encounters with history at school a thrilling one.”

Links to the resources can be found below.