11 Mar Brocks Fireworks Poster
This poster for Brock’s fireworks perfectly conjours up for me the cosy world of my 1950’s northern England childhood. We never actually had a bonfire in our back garden, which was a bit small for that, but we did let fireworks off there, and the Big Bonfire was just across the park from our house. For weeks anticipation grew as we watched the park keepers add autumn leaves, fallen branches, old bedframes, decrepit sofas and all sorts of wonderfully inflammable things to the growing pyramid. Topped of course, by Guy Fawkes, the Catholic traitor! Hull had been a staunchly Parliamentary city in the Civil War, and a great supporter of the Protestant Cause (there was a golden statue of William III – affectionately known as King Billy – by the Pier) so celebrating the depths of winter by burning a Papist seemed entirely reasonable to us kids, who went around with dubiously stuffed and masked Guys of our own before the big event, collecting pennies for fireworks. On the great night all East Hull gathered round the bonfire (ah, the scent of burning leaves! I’ve forgotten what burning bedsteads smelt like) and baked potatoes in the ashes. The day after, my friends and I would scour the park for mis-fired fireworks, pour the gunpowder into the tubes provided by fallen rockets and climb onto garage roofs to fire them spacewards. What bliss it was to be alive!