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Medieval city lies in ruins after pupils' vivid historical experiment

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

  • STREET LEVEL: With their half-timbered houses, ready to be destroyed by fire, are Seth, Shayla, Emma and Aiden.

  • CITY IN FLAMES: The fire begins to take hold, fanned by the breeze.

  • URBAN WASTELAND: All that was left of 'London' in the aftermath of the Great Fire.

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SIXTY-FIVE houses in Wadebridge have been burnt to the ground by schoolchildren.

However, there was no need for the police to be involved, as Year 5 pupils from Wadebridge Primary Academy were re-enacting the Great Fire of London after spending last week building a scaled-down version of the streets of the capital as they would have looked in 1666.

The Tudor-style houses were then filled with straw and set alight, simulating the accident at a baker's in Pudding Lane which set off the real conflagration.

The cross-curricular project was designed to inspire the children and provide as much realism as possible.

Year 5 teacher Dani May said: "The excitement has been building for over a week, with the children putting in an enormous amount of effort into making the houses, knowing they'd also see them go up in smoke.

"The four-storey buildings the children made really did add to the realism of the whole event as we all watched them collapse in the flames."

Assistant head Paul Baker and Andy Barclay from Cornwall Outdoors helped to recreate the way the fire would have spread due to the proximity of the houses and the wind, resulting in the destruction of 80 per cent of the city.

Pupil Seth Brown said: "It was absolutely incredible watching our mini-version of London burn to the ground and it really brought our history lessons to life.

"I realised how horrifying it would have been to have been in that place at that time.

"It was such a fun day and I hope I'll never forget it."

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