Home Education: London’s Burning All Hallows

What a week this week has been

We have totally immersed ourselves in history

Learning all about The Great Fire of London

Following on from last week’s learning

All about The Great Plague

This I think is the way my children learn best

Firing up their enthusiasm with visits and workshops

Encouraging them to learn alongside other children and grown ups

Charging headlong into a topic

And spending a chunk of time really learning

Through the use of drama, art, stories, books

Visits, workshops and even a worksheet or three

It has been a very busy, very tiring

Incredibly inspirational and rewarding week

Fire, Fire!

We started on Monday

With a trip to London

For a guided walk around the city of London

We used All Hallows Church as our base

And had a wonderful guide called Margaret

Who was so knowledgeable and so engaging

We all loved her!

The children and their grown ups all enjoyed the walk

And learned a lot from it and the follow up activities

After lunch at the church

We started our tour at Tower Hill

It was wonderful to be so close to The Tower of London

To see where, in 1666, the gunpowder was stored

Thankfully the fire never reached the tower

Or history would have been very different

tower hill

At All Hallows Church

We saw the tower

Where Samuel Pepys stood

Where he witnessed the fire

Surveyed the situation

In order to report to the king

It is amazing that the exact same tower still stands today

The stairs to the tower that Samuel Pepys used are still the same

So wonderful to experience history in this way

all hallows tower

From All Hallows

We walked to the old Bakers Hall

We stopped to see an etched window

Showing a 1666 bakery

We looked at the oven

Talked about how the bakery worked

We learned about Thomas Farriner

And heard the story

His story

Of how The Great Fire of London started

bakers hall

We also learned about Bakers Hall

And about how all the trade halls had their own symbols

The Bakers had a sheaf of wheat


From Bakers Hall

We walked in the footsteps of Thomas Farriner

The route he would have taken home to his bakery

After a meeting at the hall

Our next stop was

St Dunstan in the East Church Gardens

Originally built in 1100

The church was severely damaged in the Great Fire of London 1666

It was patched up and a steeple tower was added

By Sir Christopher Wren

wren tower

The church was hit in the blitz of 1941

This time it was not rebuilt

Instead in 1967 the City Of London turned it into a garden

A place for the people of the city to enjoy


And it is most enjoyable

The church remains

And gardens

Are truly beautiful

romeo and juliet

They reminded me of Romeo and Juliet

A beautiful place to sit and reflect

A wonderful space to put on a theatre show

st dunstans

You forget that in the heart of London

There are places of peace like this

Places to be slow and to take stock

Places to rest

dunstan east gardens

The next stop on our tour was

St Mary Hill Church

Much of the original church was destroyed in The Great Fire

But the walls and frame remained

Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt the churches interior and east end

He added a beautiful lantern to the west tower


A practise for the dome that would crown St Paul’s Cathedral

This was a true awe and wonder moment

awe and wonder

Outside of the church

We also spent some time talking about the beautiful city of London

The striking contrasts between old and new

That marry together so well

A stunning, striking collection of buildings that tell

The tale of the city

That tell our story

Our history

city architecture

Our walk continued through some of the smaller narrower city streets

Our guide, Margaret explained how the houses of London were built of wood

The streets were narrow and the houses almost touched at the top

narrow streets

She told us that they were close enough to lean out of the window and shake hands with the neighbour


She also explained how there were no toilets and therefore they would use a pot or bucket

Which was then thrown out of the window into the street

Look out below!

Our next stop was The Monument

Built to commemorate The Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the city

Sir Christopher Wren and Dr Robert Hooke designed the Colossal Doric Column

It has a cantilevered staircase of 311 steps to a viewing platform

This is surmounted by a drum and copper urn from which flames emerge

We have often seen The Monument from a distance

It was good to get up close

the monument

From The Monument

To Pudding Lane

Where pies and puddings were made

Where on 2nd September 1666

The Great Fire of London began

pudding lane

pudding lane bakery

We walked from Pudding Lane to

Seething Lane

Where in 1666

One Samuel Pepys did live

seething lane

In the place where Samuel Pepys lived

There is now a bust and plinth

samuel pepys

And lots of engraved paving stones

Showing the stories of the plague and the fire


We found a plague doctor

A rat and a flea

Pepys’ parmesan cheese

And his fine buried wine

pepys cheese

After seeing where Samuel Pepys lived

We visited his church

The place where he and his wife Elizabeth are buried

st olaves

St Olave’s Church

John Betjeman described St Olave’s as “a country church in the world of Seething Lane.”

The church is one of the smallest in the City

One of only a handful of medieval City churches that escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666


The flames from The Great Fire came within 100 metres or so

But the wind changed direction and the church survived

300 victims of the plague are buried in the churchyard

olave burials

Inside the church

Both Pepys and his wife are honoured and remembered

pepys memorial

elizabeth pepys

church visit

From St Olave’s we returned to All Hallows

We ate our lunch outside

Before starting a full afternoon of activities

Dressing up as Samuel and Elizabeth Pepys

With bonnets and periwigs

2018-09-17 13.18.27

Writing with quill and ink

quill and ink

Being history detectives

Finding clues around the church

history detectives

And in the stained glass windows

stain glass window

We read an extract of Pepys’ diary

So much learning

So much fun

It really was a very special afternoon

will writes

The whole day was wonderful actually

We all learned so much

We all laughed and smiled

The weather was glorious

And we were all making up stories about the mysterious Shard

That seemed to follow us wherever we went

The Shard of 1666

The Mysterious Shard

The Shadow of The Shard

Step Back in Time with The Shard

It was wonderful to see the children learning

But also playing


Building friendships

It was a magical day

One of the best kind of Home Ed days

After the visit ended

We walked back to London Bridge Station with friends

from the bridge

We walked over Tower Bridge and enjoyed the view

The children played in fountains near HMS Belfast

And the sneaky Shard

Well, he seemed to follow us all the way home!

(Thank you Seeking Sights for your comprehensive note taking on the trip)

One thought on “Home Education: London’s Burning All Hallows

  1. Gosh, what a lot of walking! My daughter did the Great Fire Of London at school so we also visited the monument over the summer but had no idea all that other, deeper, things were nearby. If you get the chance again and it piques your interest, the tower bridge exhibition is well worth a visit. Xx

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