Year One were off on their first educational visit of the year on the 8th of November visiting The Discovery Museum in Newcastle. First they spent the morning session measuring the grand Turbinia ship in paces and then on a scavenger hunt through the ‘Newcastle Time Tunnel’ exhibition where the children looked for key artefacts with their group leaders. They found out about each of the artefacts and reported back their findings to the whole class. How clever they were relaying the information they found! Next was lunch on the ground floor before meeting up with Fran from the museum’s education team, who delivered an excellent workshop about The Great Fire of Gateshead and Newcastle of 6th October 1854. The children handled artefacts from the Victorian era, some trying on outfits and others demonstrated the use of key artefacts on each table they visited. Later some of the children acted out the story in the form of a hilarious puppet show. How we laughed at their acting voices. A good time was had by all! Thanks to Ms Raistrick, Mrs Caleya-Chetty and Mrs Rudd for joining us as parent helpers.
Here’s the story:
On the morning of Friday the 6th October between twelve and one o’clock a fire broke out in the worsted manufactory of Charles Bertram Gateshead. It spread to the factory nearby. The sulphur in the factory made the flames a spectacular bright blue. The fire lit up the river and the ships there and the High Level Bridge. The eight storied building was one mass of flame, at length the walls fell. Burning pieces were then scattered over the roofs of the nearby buildings with spread the fire even further. The ships were taken from their moorings to safety. There were three explosions. The first gentle one made the people watching on the Newcastle side say “Oooh’. The second explosion made them say ‘Ahhhh!’ but the third loud and might explosion made everyone scream for their lives. The shock of the explosion was felt by the miners in Sunderland who thought there mine had collapsed. The fire past easily from house to house. They were made from wood and were close together. Streets of houses fell down like a pack of cards. About 500 people were injured and 54 people died. Some were rich, some were poor, some were old and some were young. The twelve firemen worked hard but had to send for the firemen on the Newcastle side to help them but the fire was too big to put out easily. In the end, a large group of townsmen pulled down streets on houses to stop the fire from spreading. At last it was all over.

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