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The Great Fire: London Burns, Death, Destruction and A City Rebuilt

London Burns, the first in a three-part series (aired on consecutive nights starting 8pm Wednesday 31st May 8PM ) shows how some 21st century academic detective work traced the exact spot of the baker’s shop where the Great Fire began – and it wasn’t on Pudding  Lane! Farriner’s shop, where the fire first started, was actually on a site that now lies below Monument Street.


Historians Dan Jones and Suzannah Lipscomb team up with engineer Rob Bell, and the three watch events unfold on an hour by hour basis as the fire grows from a small incident in the baker’s shop to a blaze that is out of control and swallows up the city.

Dan walks the fire’s route to the warehouses lining the river Thames and counts the cost of the damage caused to property and lives. Suzanne follows three residents whose lives were changed forever by their experiences of the fire, and Rob looks and why the fire took hold and spread so quickly.

Death and Destruction sees the capital’s iconic buildings, including the original St Paul’s, go up in an inferno on the worst day of the fire, which apparently started in the early hours of Sunday 2 September, and lasted for four days.

A City Rebuilt describes the measures used to bring the fire under control and considers how many people might really have died, before looking ahead to the rebuilding of the capital and its transformation into the modern city that we know today.

Other Resources for Primary

As the Great Fire is a popular topic for KS1 and 2,  here is a small selection of some of the great resources from radio and television targeted at this age group:

The Great Fire of London Podcast on BBC iPlayer Radio for Age 5 to 9 explores the event through music, dance and drama activities. The webpage includes links to Teachers Notes around the podcast.


The CBBC Newsround webpage has a number of really useful clips providing further resources.

There’s a handy short clip from BBC Newsround summarising what happened, and why:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/37253903 ;

And  a brilliant clip in which Horrible Histories author Terry Deary busts some popular myths about the fire