One of the most enduring images of the autumn is November the fifth or Firework night. It’s an indication that summer is gone and that winter is just around the corner. Wrapped up against the cold, a nice dinner of Sausages, Mash and beans or a Jacket potato inside you with a Hot chocolate to keep out the chill it’s a nice experience to stand in the muddy field of the local school whilst the Round Table Club members attempt to not blow themselves up with a great show. It has you “oohing” and ahhing” at the spectacle in front of you even if it does sometimes have your children and pets cowering in the corner. That is where good old double glazing helps out. We used an Evesham double glazed window company to come and sort out our draughty old windows. Here is their website if you are interested https://www.firmfix.co.uk/windows/ as filtering out a certain amount of the noise can be useful even if it doesn’t block it out completely – for that you need a pair of good ear defenders!
Let’s ponder where the humble, but loud, Firework originates from.
Wemainly use fireworks to celebrate the fact that Parliament was not destroyed by Guido Fawkes and the Catesby Gang. They were Catholics angry at being forced to take up Protestant ways, so they decide to blow up James the First and all the Lords and MPs when he opened Parliament. In modern times they are also common at New Year’s Eve or big birthdays and state occasions.They have been around a lot longer than that though. They were first used by the ancient Chinese to frighten bad spirits away. They found they could use Gunpowder to create a low, but loud explosion. In Europe it was the trade along the Silk road that brought the use of fireworks to our attention. The Arab world had noted the use of them and called them “Chinese Flowers”. In Persia they were soon recreating the explosions they had seen and were starting to add chemicals and materials to the gunpowder to make colour and crackling sparks. Initially these were all ground based columns, tightly secured, that made fantastic displays of light and colour with the added spice of the large explosions.
The explosion for displays in the UK (no pun intended) was Seventeen forty nine when Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks was premiered. This was a piece of music specially written and commissioned to accompany the fireworks. This began a tradition of combining the display with music and was repeated thorough the Georgian Period with Handel’s Water Music and his Coronation piece Zadok the Priest which is still used today.
Things began to become colourful in the Eighteen Thirties when chemicals and metals such as charcoal for gold, Caesium for Indigo and Copper for Green and Blue were added to the gunpowder mixture. The use of rockets for a more impressive aerial display meant that the firework could be sent higher and launched easier with the effect that it was not just the privilege few that could see them. The deregulation and ease of making them meant that they began to be available for home use in the twentieth Century. This also saw the creation a series of Public Information films telling us to be safe using them.
Will you be visiting a firework display near you this November?