Sunday, 11 September 2011

Fireworks Night

Amateur pyro-enthusiasts all over England dream of November 5th every year, when they get the opportunity to show off their Catherine Wheels and ability to conjure up Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture in the night sky over their neighbours garden.

This is, of course, all in homage to Guy Fawkes inability to redecorate the interior of the houses of parliament in 1605.
Every city, every town, every village and (almost) every garden has some kind of firework display going on, so it is not necessary to force yourself across the nation in search of 'the ultimate party'. If you do go to a large gathering, make sure you find one where the organisers know what they are doing. Pyro-enthusiasts have a habit of becoming accidental pyromaniacs unfortunately.
In the capital, the delightful topography of the city, with hills overlooking the central districts from North and South means that a good vantage point on Hampstead Heath or Greenwich will give you superb views across a city vista of exploding fireworks.
For the most spectacular firework displays, some open recommendations are Blackheath Common ( and Clapham Common ( in South London. In North London, perhaps the most spectacular are those unleashed at Alexandra Palace, the former home of the BBC.
And for a full festival treat, Lewes, near Brighton in Sussex, is king. Due to the historical add-on of Queen Mary 1st burning Protestant heretics on the hill overlooking the town in 1556, the town has taken their November 5th celebrations to the next level. In addition to a top quality firework display, the town seethes with thousands of people crammed into the streets, with a procession of flaming torches brought by costumed men and women, effigies of Mary being burnt and barrels of burning tar moving through the streets. The grog flows and the rather anarchic spectacle enthuses all who attend.


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