Advice for teachers

This website was created by the Museum of London in partnership with London Metropolitan Archives, Guildhall Art Gallery and the Monument to mark the 350th anniversary of the fire. It also contains material from seven other contributors and is a one-stop shop for trustworthy, child-friendly content for key stage 1 teaching.

The site is divided into three parts:

Fire of London game

This game is a relaunched edition of the hugely popular 2008 version. Players meet Tom (a fictional character) and Jane (Samuel Pepys’s maid) and hear their stories of the fire. As the story unfolds, children play mini-games such as helping Jane pack a cart of Pepys’s precious belongings, helping to fight the fire and learning how we know about what happened in the fire.
The game is divided into chapters by the six days of the fire and by sub-chapters within each day, allowing you to teach the subject step-by-step. It can be used by either the whole class on an interactive whiteboard or by pupils at individual computers or on mobile devices. Whenever historic objects are used in the story, users can click and learn more.

You might find it useful to:

  • explore just one or two days at a time (we’ve found classes take approximately 45 minutes to explore the whole game)
  • use only the story scenes to view the narrative as a whole, later returning to the ‘How do we know?’ and game sequences
  • focus on the theme of understanding how we know about the past and use the ‘How do we know?’ scenes to examine the evidence that tells us about the fire.

The interactive story can be used at any point during teaching the Great Fire of London, as the story encompasses every day of the fire and London’s rebuilding.

Great Fire 1666: a Minecraft experience

Great Fire 1666 uses the power of Minecraft to tell the story of the fire. Why not harness the huge popularity of this game, played by 100 million people worldwide, to help teach the topic?

The Great Fire 1666 maps offer immersive experiences in Minecraft, allowing players to enter the City of London in 1666 and explore the story of the Great Fire like never before. Uncover the causes of this terrible event, help fight the fire and eventually try your hand at rebuilding London. Each map includes challenges to help players delve deeper into the story and experience what it was like to be part of the Fire of London.

The maps are 1:1.5 scale models of the City of London, with several major landmarks to be explored including old St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, London Bridge and the Pudding Lane bakery.

The first map shows pre-fire London, and players can explore the City in its entirety. Museum objects and audio clips with fire facts are hidden around the City for players to find and help them understand the factors that created such a disaster.

The second map allows players to play through the events of the fire. As a journalist from The London Gazette, gamers encounter historical figures including King Charles II, the baker Thomas Farriner and famous diarist Samuel Pepys. A series of mini-games take players through the story, evacuating residents and their belongings, choosing which household items to save and getting stuck into fighting the flames as ordinary Londoners did in 1666. Using Minecraft versions of 17th-century firefighting equipment from the Museum of London’s collections, players will learn the most effective ways of combating the blaze.

The third map focuses on rebuilding the city and learning from the fire, allowing players to meet the key architects involved in the regeneration and to create their own new city.

The maps are free to download for PC and Mac – all players require is a Minecraft login. They could be used at school or at home at any point in the topic to encourage deeper exploration into the story. Why not have pupils create their own videos in the maps to show their learning, write a story based around what they have seen, or build their own version of the City?

The rest of the website

We’ve created the whole website with simplicity in mind. Whether you use the coloured boxes on the map as a simple way to explore the story of the fire from different angles or to simply brush up on your own Great Fire knowledge, we hope it will provide you with everything you need to know.

Browse artefacts allows you to find and explore a selection of Great Fire-related material from the partners’ and contributors’ collections. Download them, print them, copy and paste them into your own teaching resources – the images are yours to use in whatever way you wish in an educational context.

However, please don’t publish anything using the images (even on a resource-sharing website such as tes) without first getting permission from the organisation which owns the object.

Download the Fire of London glossary to help you as you browse the artefacts.