Teachers & Group Leaders


Key Stage 3


This lesson looks at the events surrounding a serious explosion that took place beneath the Macclesfield Bridge (illustrated) on the Regent's Canal in London on the 2nd of October 1874. It examines what the explosion can tell us about industrial safety standards in the 19th century, and how the events were reported in the newspapers of the day. It gives an opportunity to question primary source material, and write a newspaper style report.

National Curriculum


  • Historical enquiry
  • Breadth of Study


  • En 3 Writing: Knowledge, Skills & Understanding

Learning Objectives

  • To explore the value of newspapers and magazines as valuable historical sources.
  • To contrast the standards of Victorian industrial safety with the rules in existence today.
  • To practice skimming text for information.
  • To practice writing a piece of factual reporting.


  • All children will learn that an accident took place on the Regent's Canal in 1874.
  • Most children will understand the value of newspapers and magazines as primary historical sources, be able to skim text for information, and write a simple report on what happened.
  • Some children will understand the difficulties posed by using newspapers as source material.
Download Lesson Plan