On this day: Guy Fawkes Night

Wednesday, 5th November 2014 by

On this day in 1605 Guy Fawkes was arrested after he was discovered guarding a huge stash of gunpowder intended to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament later in the day. Fawkes was one of several conspirators hoping to kill King James I and place his daughter on the throne in the hope of gaining more religious tolerance.


The failure of the plot has been celebrated as Guy Fawkes Night across the country ever since, originally with thanksgiving church services and military displays of gunpowder explosions, but later in the century it became a more raucous affair centred around bonfires, often with the burning of an effigy of Guy Fawkes, accompanied by fireworks and lots of drinking. Much of this tradition continues to this day, and in this excellent Photosphere by Bob Stapleton we see a fireworks display at Ascot racecourse last year.