Great Fire of London: examine the evidence

Ralph Agas woodcut of London 1633 (MPEE 1/25)
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How can we know what happened back in 1666?

This session introduces pupils to The National Archives and to some of the famous documents connected with the Great Fire of London, such as the original hearth tax return for Pudding Lane.

The session reviews pupils’ current knowledge on the Great Fire and questions how they have learnt about an event that happened beyond living memory. How can they be sure that their story of the Great Fire is accurate?

To conclude the session, pupils discuss what they have discovered from the documents and reflect on whether historians have got the story of the Great Fire correct. Pupils visiting The National Archives will also have the opportunity to examine the original version of Wenceslas Hollar’s map of London after the fire, as well as other documents relating to the period.

This session is delivered as a workshop, videoconference, virtual classroom. Find out more about the types of session we offer.

Session options

This session is delivered as a:


at The National Archives

1.5 hours

Virtual classroom

in your classroom

45 minutes


in your classroom

45 minutes

Available: All year

Cost: Free to UK schools

Suitability: Key stage 1

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Contact us

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 5365

Fax: +44 (0)20 8487 9202

Contact the education team