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Great Fire Workshop Kickstarts West Edge Programme


20 October 2023

The first of the West House and Edgbaston High ‘West Edge’ programme of collaborative events started with Year 2 West House boys joining the EHS girls for a workshop about the Great Fire of London in the Octagon.  This was an opportunity for the girls to extend their knowledge of their current History topic. The children all fully immersed themselves in life in London in 1666 for the day and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  

The morning was spent visiting different workshops and with a little help from some parents, the girls and boys explored life in 1666 enthusiastically, before the fire.  They kneaded, rolled and plaited bread in the bakery, learned how different ailments were treated by the Barber Surgeon, made their own candles at the Chandlers, used dried flowers to create medicines at the Apothecary and had to grind and make their own ink to write with using feather quills at the Schoolhouse.  

They also learned how the fire spread and why it spread so quickly through immersive and practical activities.  Then they worked together to demonstrate how the fire was put out using people lines to pass leather buckets of water from the River Thames to the burning houses and using fire hooks to pull houses down to create a fire break.

During the afternoon’s historical enquiry session, they used their prior knowledge to sift through the ashes of the fire in an archaeological study and found items such as shells, candle hooks, tools and damaged ceramic pots.  They used these clues to decide which shop the ashes had come from and whether it burned down or was pulled down as part of a fire break.  

The boys, girls, parents and staff thoroughly enjoyed the day and all went home with big smiles on their faces.  The children couldn’t wait to share their day and their hand made goodies with their parents.

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