Remember, remember the fifth of November; gunpowder, treason and plot. Bonfire night is soon approaching and that means fireworks, sparklers and toffee apples! Every year in the UK on the 5th of November we celebrate the evening when Guy Fawkes and 12 other men were caught planning to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and for over 400 years our nation have burned bonfires usually with an effigy of Guy Fawkes on top and light fireworks to celebrate the failed Gunpowder Plot.
To celebrate this tradition here are some fun facts you might have not know about Bonfire Night…
1. Fireworks were invented by accident
A Chinese cook in the 10th century accidentally invented what we know today as fireworks by mixing three common ingredients found in the kitchen back then: sulphur, charcoal and a salt substitute. The mixture was set alight and resulted in colourful flames.
2. The first ever person to host a fireworks display was King Henry VII
1486 was the first ever recorded display of fireworks in Britain During the wedding of the English King Henry VII. This famous weddingwith its fabulous fireworks display wasa cause for celebration asit finally united the two warring families of houses of York and Lancaster.
3. His Granddaughter Queen Elizabeth I also loved fireworks
The former Queen of England loved fireworks so much that she created a title for the lucky person she considered to be the best firework maker in the country, who would then be known as the “Fire Master of England”.
4. London today would look completely different today if the 36 barrels of gunpowder would’ve exploded
If Guy Fawkes and his accomplices succeed they would have completely destroyed the building, as well as causing damage to buildings which surround the Houses of Parliament and transformed how we see London today. The blast of 2,500kg of gunpowder would have destroyed Westminster Hall and the Abbey we see today.
5. The lantern Guy Fawkes was carrying when he was caught in the Houses of Parliament can still be viewed today
The lantern that Guy Fawkes himself was carrying when he was arrested in the cellars of Parliamenttoday lives atthe Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The famous relic was given to the University of Oxford by a man called Robert Heywood and then was transferred to the Ashmolean Museum, where it can still be seen to this day.
6. There is an island named after Guy Fawkes
Located to the North-West of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands, there is an uninhabited island named Isla Guy Fawkes, or Guy Fawkes Island. To this today, no one knows why the island got its name, maybe it was where he planned to escape to?
7. It used to be illegal NOT to celebrate Bonfire Night in Britain
Until only 60 years ago, 1959 it was illegal to not celebrate Bonfire Night in Britain! there was only one place in the UK that was exempt form this however, St Peter’s School in York where Guy Fawkes attended. However, in 1914 during the First World War, and later in the Second World War, no one was allowed to set off fireworks or light bonfires. So during this time, people celebrated the occasion indoors as to not show the enemy where they were.
8. An average sparkler burns at between 1000-1500°c
This is so incredibly hot that three of them burning together can reach the same temperature as a blowtorch! So make sure you put them out in a bucket of water to avoid any accidents and be careful giving them to children.
9. To this day they still search the Houses of Parliament in case of another Guy Fawkes!
The Yeomen of the Guard still search the Houses just in case anybody tries to take a leaf out of Guy Fawkes’ book on this Bonfire Night.
Have a great Bonfire Night!