Teachers & Group Leaders

Tale Of A Tunnel

Key Stage 2


This lesson tells the story of the construction of the Islington Tunnel on the Regent's Canal, from 1812 onwards. It describes some of the difficulties encountered, both physical and financial. It gives children an opportunity to calculate what some of the building costs were, and why the construction ran into financial difficulties. Includes an educational board game.

National Curriculum


  • Local history study 7) A study investigating how an aspect in the local area has changed over a long period of time, or how the locality was affected by a significant national or local event or development or by the work of a significant individual.


  • Ma2 Number & Algebra Solving numerical problems 4) Pupils should be taught to: (a) choose, use and combine any of the four number operations to solve word problems involving numbers in 'real life'…(b) choose and use an appropriate way to calculate and explain their methods and reasoning Breadth of study 1) During the key stage, pupils should be taught the Knowledge, skills and understanding through: (b) approximating and estimating more systematically in their work in mathematics …(h)using mathematics in their work in other subjects.

Learning Objectives

  • To learn the history of the Islington Tunnel.
  • To learn more about the local history of the area.
  • To learn how the tunnel was built.
  • To practice their mathematical problem solving skills.


  • All children will learn that the Islington Tunnel was built by hand, with difficulty.
  • Most children will understand what some of the major difficulties were.
  • Some children will understand why it took so long to complete the Tunnel.
Download Lesson Plan