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CHILDREN STEP OUT FOR THE GREAT FIRE

It's that time of the year when children from my local Primary School make the rail trip to London to find out more about Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of 1666.   What always amazes me is how much they know already. That's a credit to the teachers who introduce the youngsters to this important period of London history.

Over four days, these six and seven year-olds were fascinated by what they saw and heard.  They were a credit to their school and for me it proved yet again that history has got a lot to offer if the children can get out of the classroom.

We were, in fact, walking with history.  First we stepped inside St. Olav's Church where Mr Pepys and his wife Elizabeth are buried.  We saw where he lived and worked, now a park, then went on to St. Margaret Pattens church which was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren after the Fire.  It was also an ideal place to relax and enjoy a snack courtesy of the Rev. Hugh Thomas who invited us into his church on each of the four days.

Then onto Pudding Lane, the site of Thomas Faryner's Bakery and the Monument.  Then it was onto  St. Magnus Martyr to see the model of London Bridge and down to the steps of old Billingsgate Market for yet another stop - and more food.  Lunch this time. Finally it was back to Fenchurch Street station via the scaffold on Trinity Gardens - the gory stories always go down well - and then back on the train home.  The waiting Mums and Dads were mightily relieved to see their little 'uns returned safely.

And the guide?  Very weary I can tell you.  There are always questions and more questions and some that are not always easy to answer.  But these children were a joy. Very well behaved and eager to listen to my stories.  If only we could persuade more schools to come to the capital.

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