The Great Plague of London happened in 1665. The plague killed many people. This occurence of widespread pestilence was one of the first to be recorded. The records exist in the form of broadsheets, pamphlets, parish records and accounts such as Pepys diary. 1-9 GCSE students or pupils in Key Stage 3 often study this event. This activity pack for history teachers provides a wealth of data, images and contemporary comments about the plague.
The resource pack asks pupils to make use of the available data. It explores anomalies in 17th century record keeping allowing pupils to get a ‘hands on’ understanding of the limitations of historical evidence. Though rich in data, the sources are illustrated. Drawings in the borders of the sources provide important clues as to beliefs and attitudes at the time.
Pupils draw upon the data and illustrations to reach conclusions about the Great Plague. These can be compared with ideas put forward by anatomists such as Vesalius or Harvey to assess the degree to which medicine had changed in the Renaissance.