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Firework History and Modern Displays

Talk with slides by Steve Hawkins

Friday 18th November 2011

Steve Hawkins gave a fascinating talk illustrating how fireworks have developed from early beginnings in China to the highly complex split-second timed displays of today.

Interestingly, Steve explained how poor old Guy Fawkes was framed. He worked in a shop near parliament and one day a man came and bought some matches then ran off without paying, with Guy Fawkes in hot pursuit. The chase finished in the cellars under parliament, where the villain was cornered and offered to get some money to pay Guy Fawkes. The villain handed Guy Fawkes the matches as he departed - and we all know the rest.

Firework displays were very popular in Victorian times and in the late 1800s at Crystal Palace one display was 60 feet high and 200 feet long and by contrast to today's colourful displays was just gold and silver.

For many years, Steve has worked with Kimbolton fireworks and was a key member of the team for the last New Year's Eve display in London, while Kimbolton also did the display in Edinburgh. Kimbolton are again providing the displays in both London and Edinburgh for the forthcoming New Year and will be tendering for the Olympics in 2012.