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London’s burning (notes and activities)

Listen up!

  • The audio track will help you understand how the parts fit together.

Tactics

  • You can perform this song in unison if you wish.

Extended activities

  • You could use classroom instruments eg. recorders or glockenspiels to accompany your singing. If you sing it as a round, try using different instruments for each part.

  • If you choose to sing this song as a round, you could try arranging the different groups of singers so that they are situated in different corners of the room. To keep everyone on their toes, why not try mixing up the order of entries simply by pointing to any group of your choice as it is due to come in!

Did you know … ?

  • The fire was devastating for London, sweeping across the city for three days before it was put out. Old playground songs with simple tunes are often about quite sinister, important historical events. Have a look at Ring a ring o’ roses, a nursery rhyme that many people believe to be about the Plague. These two songs are closely linked; the Great Fire had the effect of almost completely wiping out the Plague. Try using these songs together in a History lesson.

  • ‘Fetch the engine … ’: Actually there were no proper fire engines in 1666, only a very basic fire service, which explains why the fire went on for so many days! The reference to engines suggests that this song wasn’t written until many years after the Great Fire.

Cross-curricular links

Explore related themes:

  • History

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