The fire of 1834: Stories from Parliament

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This episode tells the story of the fire of 1834 that destroyed almost all of the original Palace of Westminster.

Stories from Parliament is a series of audio dramas each telling a dramatic story from Parliament's past. Episodes are accompanied with images from the Parliamentary art and archive collections, bringing these stories to life. 

All images subject to copyright, click here for more information.

Time required: Film approx. 8 mins (with lesson plans: time variable)

Learning outcomes

Students will learn:


  • Chronological understanding, knowledge and understanding of events, people and changes in the past
  • Historical events linked to Parliament and the development of democracy in the United Kingdom

Using the assembly plan:


  • Students will consider the events of the Fire of 1834 that destroyed most of the old Palace of Westminster and consider how democracy relates to places.

Using the 7-11 years lesson plan, students will learn to:


  • Explore how to design for purpose
  • Develop their ability to select ideas and explore different materials  to use in their own work
  • Develop their ability to assess their own designs critically and suggest improvements to develop their own work further
  • Learn about the different groups within Parliament

Using the 11-14 years lesson plan, students will learn to:


  • Explore the use of different types of language and writing appropriate for an intended audience
  • Develop their ability to write for purpose and audience
  • Develop their ability to employ persuasive arguments
  • Develop their ability to empathise with people in different situations and with different viewpoints
  • Develop their ability to create an appropriate newspaper article

Practical information

Resources are aimed at ages 7-14 in line with the English and Welsh National curriculum, the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and the National Curriculum for Northern Ireland. They can be used separately or together in three easy steps:

1) Show episode as part of a school or class assembly
2) Use the Fact Files to discover more of the key information around the story
3) Choose one lesson plan activity to complete in class


Fire of 1834 - fact file

Fire of 1834 - fact file

Fact file to accompany the video

pdf file - 360 KB

Fire of 1834 - KS2 & KS3 Lesson Plans

Fire of 1834 - KS2 & KS3 Lesson Plans

Full curriculum links and creative lessons to support using this resource in the classroom.

pdf file - 424 KB

Fire of 1834 Assembly resource

Fire of 1834 Assembly resource

An assembly plan to accompany the audio drama.

pdf file - 440 KB
PDF download

Video script

Video script

Download the script of the video

pdf file - 577 KB

Related Teaching Resources


The Gunpowder Plot 1: Stories from Parliament


Votes for Women 1: Stories from Parliament


Houses of History timeline - all themes