"Penny for the guy?"
For myself (and I imagine many others), Bonfire Night holds such special magical memories. Gathering around a crackling fire wrapped up in hats, gloves and ear muffs, burning your fingers on foil-wrapped potatoes and craning your neck at the colourful bursts of the fireworks whizzing and exploding overhead. Sparklers of course, never grow tiresome! Writing your name in tiny starbursts and accidentally sending sparks all over a fellow spectators jacket (hastily pat that out - that's what gloves are for!!) before you plunge the sticks into a bucket of water which boils like a witches cauldron. HOW could all that not sound like fun? I remember one year making a Guy with Dad which, due to it's jaunty straw boater hat looked far too 'English Summer Time' and not enough Fawkes, so a complete wardrobe change was needed before I could bear to burn him! One neighbours Bonfire Party ended with us all tearing downhill from the bonfire after a set of un-lit rockets was accidentally thrown on - cue the world going into slow motion as rockets sped under foot, exploded around our ears and generally caused havoc (we all survived to tell the tale!) - bracing indeed!!
More recent years meant heading to a local display in the pitch black with one torch between the group of us, hip flasks of whiskey (good thinking Grandad!) and narrowly avoiding breaking every bone in our bodies clambering through woodland to get the best spot - again, this is what it's all about, Bonfire Night I love you!
I found these simply beautiful vintage firework advertising posters from The Firework Museum (who knew!!) who have a great collection of images, ranging from posters to the firework packaging itself. This Brocks one is my absolute favourite, who wouldn't want to join this party? You can hear the Screaming Skulls and the spluttering of the Catherine Wheels from here! The colourful wrapping on the old fireworks look so exciting, like a very dangerous box of exploding sweets! Do pop along to the website and have an explore, I had no idea there was such a thriving collecting culture for fireworks!
There is also a fascinating article by Spitalfields Life about Maurice Evans, Firework Collector who has loved fireworks ever since his childhood, and now has the most comprehensive collections in the country. It's a sparkling interview, I always love to hear people as passionate about collecting as Maurice!
"Even before his teens, the love of pyrotechnics had taken grip upon Maurice’s psyche. It was a passion born of denial. “I used to suffer from bronchitis and asthma as a child, so when November 5th came round, I had to stay indoors.” he confided with a frown, “Every shop had a club and you put your pennies and ha’pennies in to save for fireworks and that’s what I did, but then my father let them off and I had to watch through the window."
These last two images are from the article, the shooting star fountain and flying imp are my favourites!!
Wishing you a BANG ON! Bonfire Night!
Thanks for reading!