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Working Class Life in the 1940s & 50s—Bonfire Night

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Guy Fawkess

Guy Fawkess

Bonfire Night

Each November the fifth in England we remember the foiled plot of Guy Fawkes who plotted to blow up Parliament and the King.

Fortunately this plot was discovered and Guy Fawkes was arrested before he could put a match to the gunpowder that he had secreted below the Houses of Parliament.

As children we learnt the first two verses of the rhyme below

Remember, remember the fifth of November

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes 'twas his intent
To blow up the King and the Parliament
Three score barrels of powder below
Poor old England to overthrow

By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match
Holler boys, holler boys, ring bells ring
Holler boys, holler boys, God Save the King!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o'cheese to choke him
A pint of beer to rinse it down
A faggot of sticks to burn him

Burn him in a tub of tar
Burn him like a blazing star
Burn his body from his head
Then we'll say old Pope is dead

Hip Hip Hoorah!
Hip Hip Hoorah!
Hip Hip Hoorah!

Hung, Drawn, and Quartered

For those of you that don’t have weak stomaches and who want to know what the sentence for treason was in those day this is what the Judge would say as he passed sentence.

“That you be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution where you shall be hanged by the neck and being (still) alive cut down, your privy members shall be cut off and your bowels taken out and burned before you, your head severed from your body and your body divided into four quarters to be disposed of at the King’s pleasure.”

The hurdle was similar to a piece of fencing made from thin branches interwoven to form a panel to which the prisoner was tied to be dragged behind a horse to the place of execution. Once there, the prisoner(s) were hanged in the normal way (i.e. without a drop to ensure that the neck was not broken) but cut down whilst still conscious. The penis and testicles were cut off and the stomach was slit open. The intestines and heart were removed and burned before them. The other organs were torn out and finally the head was cut off and the body divided into four quarters. The head and quarters were parboiled to prevent them rotting too quickly and then displayed upon the city gates as a grim warning to all.

The Gunpowder Plot

Guy Fawkes was arrested on the 5th of November 1605, and on Friday, January 31, 1606, Guy Fawkes, along with some of his co-conspirators was taken to the Old Palace Yard at Westminster to be hung, drawn and quartered.

Guy Fawkes was the last of the conspirators to face his punishment. However, when the noose was put around Guy Fawkes neck he leaped from the gallows breaking his neck in the process. He died immediately thus avoiding being alive for the drawn and quartered part.

Most people today think that the effigy that is traditionally burnt on the bonfire is Guy Fawkes but originally the effigy was the effigy of the pope as it was a papist plot. The plotters wanted to kill King James who was a protestant and replace him with a catholic.

This King James is the same King James who is responsible for having the Bible translated into English. This translation is known as the Authorized or the King James Version and it is still used in many churches throughout the world.

To celebrate the saving of the King’s life an act of parliament was passed for the lighting of celebratory bonfires throughout the land.

The first one of these celebrations took place on November 5th 1606 on the anniversary of the foiled plot, this was the beginning of a tradition that has lasted right up to the present day

Bonfire Night Celebrated For Over 400 years

Bonfire Night celebrations have been held in Britain for over 400 years and for the first 350 years, these celebrations changed very little however, in the last fifty years things have changed a lot including how Bonfire Night is celebrated..

Bonfire Night in the 1950s was a very different celebration to that which takes places in England today. Today nearly all the firework displays are organised and professionally done as are the bonfires themselves and it is illegal for children to purchase or have fireworks. Today these celebrations are choked by all sorts of rules and regulations and are subject to all sorts of health and safety stipulations.

I think that getting permission to build a bonfire in the street today would be impossible to obtain. Today the hands on individual participation in the Bonfire Night celebrations especially that of children is almost none existent relegating adults and children alike to the role of spectator rather than participator.

Boys building a bonfire

Boys building a bonfire

Bonfire Night in the 1950s

In the 1950’s things were very different bonfire night was a neighbourhood event in fact in working class districts it was a street by street event and there was great rivalry between the streets as to who could build the best bonfire.

The kids in the main were responsible for collecting the combustibles for the bonfire, neighbours used this opportunity to get rid of old furniture and old bits of wood etc., anything burnable would be saved for the bonfire.

Can you imagine a bonfire like the one that is in the photograph being built on a street in a densely populated area only yards from people's homes with no official intervention limited only by how much burnable materials could be collected and stacked?

You would know when bonfire night was getting close because the Newsagents shop on our street and in streets throughout the country would start displaying fireworks in their shop windows and by the end of October our Newsagent’s shop’s glass display counter would be full of fireworks for sale.

The Newsagent had all the usual stuff, penny bangers, sparklers, jumping Jacks, Catherine Wheels, Rockets, and Golden Rain and if you wanted something expensive or special the Newsagent would order it for you. I am not sure why the Newsagent’s shops were the ones to stock and sell fireworks I am sure that there must be a good reason for this.

Fireworks Poster

Fireworks Poster

Street Bonfires

Each street, at least in the working class areas, would have at least one bonfire and long streets like ours usually had as many as three. Weeks before Bonfire night all the kids would be busy collecting rubbish for their own particular bonfire. It was every kid's aim to have the biggest bonfire in the area. The one that I used to go to was only about five yards from my front door. The fire used to burn so hot that it used to melt the tarmac on the road and sometimes before the road was repaired you could see the cobblestones where the tarmac had been burnt off.

Our Personal Fireworks Display

I remember my dad used to let off our fireworks in our back yard early on in the evening and these fireworks were mainly what we called "pretties" as they were colourful and nice to watch. Dad would use an empty milk bottle to stand the rockets in when lighting them, most fireworks instructed you to light the blue touch paper at arm's-length and retire.

You had to be quick when lighting the fireworks as the blue touch papers were not very long at all and they would go off within seconds of being lit. Most of the time the fireworks went off as they should but occasionally we had our mishaps. Sometimes the milk bottle would fall over and then the sky rocket, instead of going straight up, would instead fly at ground level in whatever direction it fell in and at whoever was unfortunate to be in its path.

In our back yard, we had a wooden line post for our washing line and dad used to pin the Catherine wheels to this line post. One year dad bought a great big firework that shot great coloured balls up in the air that whistled then exploded sending showers of brilliant colours in the air.

Dad let this particular firework off on the pavement in front of our house because it was so special and he wanted everyone to enjoy it. We did not have a garden to stick the pointed end of this firework in so Dad stuck the pointed end into a plant pot full of soil.

Everything went well for the first few of these whistling explosions but then the firework unexpectedly took off like a rocket, still attached to the plant pot. We last saw it soaring over the rooftops and we never did find out what happened to the plant pot. So if you had a plant pot one Bonfire Night in the 1950s land unexpectedly in your back yard now you know where it came from.

Penny for the Guy

A Penny for the Guy

In the week before Bonfire Night kids would make an effigy out of old clothes stuffed with screwed up newspapers this effigy was commonly called a Guy. They would then take the Guy and position themselves where there would be a lot of people passing by, on street corners, outside shops, pubs etc., and they would beg from anyone who passed by asking "A penny for the Guy, mister?"

All over the neighbourhood you would see kids out with their guys begging for money off of any adult who would listen. The guys were transported on anything that had wheels pushchairs old prams, trolleys, and sometimes old wooden wheelbarrows. It was usually good-natured and most of the adults didn’t seem to begrudge giving the odd penny or halfpenny to this army of kids.

We would sit our Guy on our trolley (like the Guy in the first photo) and we would wheel it round to the main gates of the Gun Factory ready for letting out time. We used to say the first verse of the rhyme ‘Remember Remember’ when asking for a penny for the Guy.

The pennies we collected this way were used mainly to buy bangers and jumping jacks which were small in size and cheap to buy. In the 1950’s you could buy a small banger for as little as a penny and they made a very satisfying loud bang when let off. We would stuff our pockets with these bangers and jumping jacks quite oblivious of the potential danger of having pockets stuffed full of easily ignited fireworks.

Atom Bomb Bangers normally a banger would be about five or six inches long

Atom Bomb Bangers normally a banger would be about five or six inches long

Enough to buy fireworks

We usually made enough money to buy plenty of jumping jacks and penny bangers. The jumping jacks were unpredictable. When you lit them you were never sure where they would go when they went off.

We use to think it great fun to light a jumping jack and just drop it between someone’s feet from behind and then watch them jump when it went off. It was not unusual for us to throw bangers at each other and we would see who could hold on to the lit fireworks the longest before throwing them it was all part of the fun. Many a time the penny bangers would go off in your hand. I wore my sheepskin mittens and they withstood most bangers quite easily.

After dad had let off our fireworks in the back yard then we would go out to the street bonfire and watch them put the guy on the top of the bonfire and then set the bonfire alight. All the Mums would take chairs out on to the street to sit on and watch the fire burn. Potatoes would be put in the fire to bake for us to eat later.

My mum would always make bonfire toffee and toffee apples. Dad had a garden allotment on which he had fruit trees and it was some of his apples that mum made into our toffee apples. I know it sounds funny and not right but I am sure that she made the toffee with a little vinegar in it. I know that they were the most delicious toffee apples that I have ever tasted and the slabs of toffee that she made were delicious. Mum never made toffee at any other time of year only on bonfire night.

This is one of the unpredictable Jumping Jacks

This is one of the unpredictable Jumping Jacks

Street Bonfire

I have superimposed the photo of the boys building the bonfire seen earlier in the article onto a photo of my street where it was traditionally built to give you an idea of how it would look

I have superimposed the photo of the boys building the bonfire seen earlier in the article onto a photo of my street where it was traditionally built to give you an idea of how it would look

The Best Bonfire

The bonfire would be built only the day before because you had to guard your bonfire from those who would steal your stuff for their bonfire. The risk of stuff being stolen was very real as everyone wanted to build the biggest and the best and so there would be somebody standing guard through the night usually some of the bigger boys to see this did not happen to our stuff.

To help you imagine how a street bonfire would look I have put the picture of the bonfire that I used earlier where it would have stood in our street as I have no actual photographs of a bonfire from this time and it does give you some idea of what it looked like before it was lit.

After watching our street's bonfire burn for a bit we would then go round the other bonfires in our area to have a look at theirs and to tell them how ours was bigger and better. The best bonfires that I ever saw I am sorry to say was not the one on our street but the one that was built on the street next to ours. In spite of all our best efforts they always seemed to collect more rubbish and pile it higher than ours.

The fire Brigade was called out regularly to their fires but the kid’s mums would arm themselves with sweeping brushes and chase the firemen off before they could get out the hoses to put the fire out.  They would have old three-piece suites to go on the bonfire, which they would sit on until they were ready to throw them on the fire. Some how our mums did not have quite the same enthusiasm for the bonfire mayhem as the Goodhead street mums did.

Their fires always seemed more exciting because you never knew what was going to happen next especially with the police and the fire brigade when the fires looked like they were getting out of hand, which was most of the time because they were so large. The mums always won the day though and I can never remember the Fire Brigade actually putting a fire of theirs out.

Experimenting with gunpowder

The day after Bonfire Night most bonfires were still smouldering and we used to scour the streets looking for duds. Duds are fireworks that had fizzled out and hadn’t exploded the night before. We would collect all these up and we would take them down to a piece of waste ground that was known as the tips and we would experiment with them.

We would break them open to get the gunpowder as we called it out of the firework. When we had got enough we would try to blow things up with the gunpowder that we had collected. Some of the effects were quite dramatic and others were a great disappointment. We would sometimes try to blow up empty milk bottles. Sometimes they would shoot up in the air other times they would explode showering you with broken glass. How we didn’t kill each other or badly injure any one only God knows.

In conclusion

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little journey back to simpler times. If you are British and have photographs taken in the 1930s,1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s that I could use in my future articles, I would really like to hear from you. Please email me using the contact link on my profile page.

All these articles have the common theme of coming from a working-class perspective which differs quite a lot from that of the middle-class and which has virtually nothing in common with the upper class.


Kerin Freeman, New Zealand on May 24, 2017:

Reading your article has brought back happy memories for me - I grew up in Southampton, UK, and can remember all the things you mentioned. Those times were precious. How sad children don't make guys and collect money for the bonfire, that mum's can't sit in the street and watch the bonfire burning. It was the little things that counted and brought smiles to so many faces. The baked spuds, hot chestnuts, toffee apples. Thank you for your memories, they are mine too.

Glen Rix from UK on October 27, 2016:

My sister's birthday is on bonfire night so , as children, we had a double cause for celebration every year. I liked the bonfires, the toffee, and so on but I was a little scared of fireworks - even sparklers. I didn't know that Guy Fawkes escaped being drawn and quartered, so thanks for the info. Lucky him! The more I have learned about the conspirators the more I sympathise with their cause. Their representations asking for freedom to practice the Catholic faith without fear of penalty met with no response. So they resorted to desperate measures.

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on November 05, 2014:

I don't mind at all I am glad that it reminded you of your own past. Thank you for leaving a comment I appreciate it :D

annmackiemiller on November 05, 2014:

hope you don't mind me pinning this on pinterest - I love it and reminded of my own past

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 25, 2013:

Thank you Donaldo I am glad that my memories triggered your own, and thank you so much for sharing some of those memories in your comment, it certainly has added valuable content to the post :D

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 25, 2013:

Thank you PS Gifford for your kind comment :D

Donaldo on October 25, 2013:

Your hub brought back my memories of bonfire nights in London in the 50's and 60's.. Out collecting old piano's etc for the fire. On the night all the street gathered around the fire. Checking that our fire was bigger than the next street. Aiming and letting off rockets in our hands, firing the 2p Cannon bangers out of bent tubes at each other...Putting potatoes in the dying embers at the end of the night...Memories...

PS Gifford from Laguna Niguel, California on October 15, 2013:

What a charming post.

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on May 02, 2012:

Hi Sebastian do you have a link so I can find you?

sebastian on May 02, 2012:

i went to reminisce with an old friend: you are cordially invited, we request the honor of your presence. dear madame- our garden picnic area is blooming at- tentwell, we have a venue to delight, on saturday the 24th of june. within the neighborhood, a sailboat race in the pool with battery powered litle boats commences at 10, bring your trunks and anyone else , all invited,

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on March 27, 2011:

Hi Glenn, thank you so much for the invite to your site I enjoyed my visit very much. I tried to leave a comment but either my computer was playing up or I was doing something wrong.

I am sure that anyone who enjoyed reading my hub would enjoy reading yours very much also.

For those who would like to read Glenn's hub here is the link

If this link doesn't work just click on Glenn's name in the comment above and you will find that you will be glad you did.

GlennG on March 13, 2011:


You have a great hub going on here. I have a similar one, and I think it is absolutely essential that folks of our age group record some of the more simplistic times when being a kid was just that, without the complications that today's generation has to deal with. Was it only 60 years ago when the 50's happened, or is it me ? Please have a look at some of my recollections of life as a working class kid in 1950's Bolton, Lancashire.


maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on February 03, 2011:

Hi Robin, I so agree with you, that is why I am writing this series of working class hubs so that the lives and times of ordinary people are not completely forgotten.

Thank you so much for commenting I really appreciate you doing that :)

robin on February 03, 2011:

Wonderful article; it certainly took me back in time! Bonfire Nights were always thrilling to me as a kid and just a little of the magic remains even today 50 years later. I agree about the differences with today's, rather sterilised and unexciting large firework displays. 1950's Britain has vanished without trace and remains only in the memories of those of us old enough to have witnessed it. Sigh...

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on November 24, 2010:

Hi AngRose, I am glad that your hubby enjoyed his little wander down my memory lane Lol.. My daughter married an American and lives in the States and I have lived in Spain for nearly seven years.

Being away from the UK memories of things so typically English like Bonfire Night tend to take on an extra dimension and they give us a warm fuzzy feeling when we recall them.

AngRose on November 24, 2010:

I read this one aloud to my husband and he enjoyed it greatly. Even though he now lives in Illinois with me, he grew up in Birmingham. He was just talking with me on the 5th of November about the bonfire night, remembering it fondly. He's only lived in America for 9 years, and I can remember when we were "dating" while he was still living there, talking to him on bonfire night. All his family lived near the Solihull area at that time and they had their own bonfire raging and fireworks they were lighting off. Sounds a great fun time!!


maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on November 07, 2010:

hi Debbie, I am glad that you found this hub in time to understand what Bonfire night was all about before the actual celebrations began this year.

The number of hubs that you have written in such a short time, is impressive, keep up the good work. I shall be looking in from time to time because the way you write makes me smile.

debbiesdailyviews on November 01, 2010:

Hi mags, first of all thank you so much for your comments, and for following me, I can't promise to be anywhere near as interesting as your hubs are,

But I am getting ready to get writing myself.

I loved this Hub, and isn't it funny that I find it with days to go to nov 5th.

You make your Hubs feel like a good book, I want to keep coming back to turn another page.

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on September 29, 2010:

Hi Nell I am glad that you enjoyed your little visit down my memory lane. It sounds like you have the best seat in the house.

Here in Spain I don’t get to see Bonfire Night but the Spanish have wonderful fiestas and most of them involve firework displays that are amazing and a few include the bonfires as well.

My house overlooks the village so like you I can sit on my patio and have a first class view of the amazing firework displays.

Nell Rose from England on September 27, 2010:

Hi, maggs, this brough back so many memories! I was small in the 60s and we did all the same things then, I remember kids throwing them about and making me jump! I am lucky now because I have a balcony that overlooks the school and it is up the end where they do the firework display! so no paying money for me to get in! ha ha I look forward to seeing it every year, thanks this was great, cheers nell

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on September 02, 2010:

Hi Duchess I am glad that you enjoyed the Hub and found the background to Bonfire Night of some interest. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment I appreciate it very much.

Duchess OBlunt on September 02, 2010:

Thank you for putting this together. It was a very enjoyable read. I had actually never heard of bonfire night, so I learned the background at the same time. I can't wait to read more about life of the middle class. What a great idea.

Keith Brock on May 19, 2010:

Hi maggs224,

Thanks for the reply, and what a great article you have written on the 1950`s in working class suburbs (decade before my time)......and no problem, you can keep up with progress on the fireworks museum by looking at the `wellsatamberely` website, period of childhood bonfire night was in the 1960`s in Queeens Road West, Plaistow, (east london).

We would build our bonfires on the "debre`s" or "dumps" (derelict land that was already flattened as we called it).

Most of the bonfire waste (wood) came from old victorian terraced houses that were left and condemed by the council in the late 60`s, but this was supplemented by neighbours disposing of there old settes/beds too!

Spuds buried on the embers of the community bonfire were the norm before we went home to dad to light our fireworks in the back garden from 8.30pm onwards, as kids we drank bovril.

On the rare occasion (when we could find one not full), we would try and use sterilzed milk bottles for rockets (because of the narrow neck which made them slightly more accurate in flight).

If its ok with you, may I have your permission to consider using your blog/article for our museum?

If anyone wants to look at our forum, or join our society, then please go to the UKPS (united kingdom pyrotechnic society) website at

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on May 04, 2010:

Hi Keith that sound interesting but unfortunately I don't think that I will get to see it as I now live in Spain and don't get back to the UK vey often these days.

Keith Brock on May 02, 2010:

If anyone is interested in saving our bonfire & firework heritage, I and few others are in the process of creating/building a firework museum in the UK.

Please go to the website below for more detailed information;,...any help you can give to our volunteers would be most appreciated!

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on April 06, 2010:

Hi RGraf, you bet right it was fun, though I must say in hindsight it was also very dangerous, but dangerous as it was I am glad I got to experience Bonfire Night without all the rules and regulations.

Thanks for your kindness in leaving your comments, I appreciate you taking the time.

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on April 05, 2010:

I bet it was fun. I hate when regulations get in the way of kids having fun :)

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on March 30, 2010:

Hi Winterfate, I have only just seen your comment, glad you liked the hub, thanks for leaving a comment and I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond.

Darrin Perez from Puerto Rico on January 10, 2010:

An extremely detailed hub. :)

Looks just like an online encyclopedia article would, so props for that as well. :)

My favorite part of history involves the Middle Ages, but I may be biased because of knights. :P

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on November 10, 2009:

hi Jen thanks for the comment looking into the origins for this hub answered some for me too. lol

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on November 10, 2009:

thanks for your comments London girl, it is a sign of my age I have not been to a bonfire celebration in years, and my grandchildren are Americans so I tended not to see the small celebrations going on. Though I feel that the street fires and young children running loose and unsupervised with their own fireworks are a thing of the past.

Jen King from Wyandotte Michigan on November 08, 2009:

Hello maggs!

Thanks for the hub, I enjoyed it and it answered a few questions for me.


LondonGirl from London on November 08, 2009:

What a wonderful hub!

I'm not sure you are right about people not having their own fireworks at home any more, though. We always did when I was a child in the 1980s and 1990s, and we did tonight (rather belatedly!) and my 4 year old son adored it.

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 15, 2009:

Hi Watch Tower I must admit that until I wrote this hub it never really occurred to me that it might be celebrated in other parts of the Commonwealth but if you think about it then it does make sense. It sounds like you had a lot more space than we did, our back yard was very small compared to yours and not really big enough to light a bonfire in. Having said that in looking back the streets were not really big enough to build the big bonfires that were lit there and why more houses were not burned down on Bonfire Night I will never know. Lol thanks for the comments and I loved your poems

Watch Tower from New Zealand on October 15, 2009:

Here in New Zealand being part of the commonwealth, we also celebrate Guy Folks. Yet I never knew of the rhyme As a Young boy in the 70's I loved making the guy with my brothers. You also answered a boy hood question, why the hell make an effigy of Guy folk it always seemed silly to me. Now knowing it was of the then Pope makes a lot more sense. We always had the best bonfires in the back yard ( quarter ache properties are common here ), so plenty of back yard to build bonfires, and set off fireworks, It was a great family get together with aunts,uncles all coming and having a jolly good time. Though Like England we to are now being more and more confined to organized firework displays and Bonfires. There maybe a link between the Bonfires of Guy Folks and the Festival of Samhain, As it was tradition to lite a Bonfire as part of the Celtic celebration. Both events fall in the same time period. Samhain from Oct 31 to November 4th

I so loved your hub on Guy Folks

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 11, 2009:

Now Candie I do remember writing at the beginning of the part in blue ‘For those of you that don’t have weak stomachs’ I tried to shield you from the gruesome bits by putting them in this blue box and putting the warning on the beginning. The punishment is so barbaric no wonder Guy Fawkes didn’t wait for them to put him through this whole process I would have jumped like him. love ya lots back

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on October 11, 2009:

Ewwwww... I had to read the part in blue first. I'm all queezy now. You whacky Brits and your celebrations! Just think you guys had a 15th Century 'Evil Doer'! Times don't change do they? I'll light a candle on 5 Nov for you! We aren't allowed to use fireworks till New Yrs. Eve. Love ya lots Maggs!

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 10, 2009:

Hi broussardleslie thanks for your kind comment

Hi Gemsong I am glad that you found this cool and that I was able to give you some background information on this celebration.

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 10, 2009:

Hi Ethel, I have just been and read your hub and it reminded me of stuff I had forgotten, like the fact my dad use to keep our fireworks in a biscuit tin too. Lol

To anyone who likes to read well written and interesting hubs I can highly recommend Ethel’s one on Guy Fawkes as it is both and here is the link

Madalain Ackley from Richmond, Virginia on October 10, 2009:

This is cool. I've always wondered about this celebration.

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 10, 2009:

Alekhouse, yes as you say some of the punishments were very gruesome and bloody, it was not until about 1870 that the hung, drawn and quartered punishment for Treason was dropped in Britain, so my great granny would have been alive when you still could have received this sentence. These sentences were carried out in public so as to serve as a deterrent and they often drew great crowds including children. I am so glad that in spite of the gory details you still enjoyed the hub lol.

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 10, 2009:

Hi Amanda I love the Hubpage comments because they remind me so often of things I have not thought about for years, your pink and white coconut ice being one such example. I can almost taste it now, my mum used to make this and the fudge but only rarely and I am not sure that it was at any specific time of year.

The first weekend in October in Nottingham was always Goose Fair weekend, which is the largest travelling fair in the country and lasts three days and I can remember that my mum would make brandy snaps for us at this time. Thanks for reviving these memories and thanks for taking the time to comment.

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 10, 2009:

Thanks Paul for your kind comments, I am glad that in the eighties there was still some freedom and fun about on bonfire night and I am also glad you survive unscathed. lol

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 10, 2009:

Ah Big Mike the metal dustbin lids I had forgotten about them we also use to use them for shields when jousting. You would have a wooden line prop in one hand held like a lance and the dustbin lid in the other and you would be sat on a homemade trolley as would your opponent who would be facing you some yards away. At a given command your mates would push you towards your opponent and their mates would be pushing your opponent towards you.

The object of this game was to knock your opponent off their trolley with your wooden line prop. Thanks for the memory prod and give my regards to the old

maggs224 (author) from Sunny Spain on October 10, 2009:

Hi Barbara, yes I think we did grow up on the same street and those bottle rockets were something else lol. It was not good to be seen as chicken and in an effort not to been seen as such we did tend to do some stupid and dangerous things, but it also taught us to face our fears and it developed our character.

In my younger days when we did something wrong we were held responsible and it was considered to be our fault not our parents or society or the man next door and I am sure that this fitted us out better to live as a productive members of our community. Thanks for your comments it’s always good to hear from you, your encouragement is so appreciated and much valued.

By the way what is Homecoming? I have heard the term used in movies but have no idea who is coming home and from where?

Leslie Broussard on October 10, 2009:

Wow. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on October 10, 2009:

Thanks for the memories Maggs. I shall link this hub to my memoirs of Bonfire night is that's ok with you?

Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on October 10, 2009:

Well, this is all new to me and "bloody" interesting. Thanks for the great descriptions, Maggs. Really enjoyed the hub.

Amanda Severn from UK on October 10, 2009:

My Dad made the toffee apples in our house, from the apples that grew in the garden. He usually made a tray of pink and white coconut ice as well, and if we'd visitors, there was sometimes home-made fudge too. That was the only cooking he ever did, but it was an annual ritual. After I left home, and moved to Brighton, I'd usually head for Lewes on bonfire night to see them burn the pope. But that's a different brand of anarchy altogether! There used to be a lot more great bonfires years ago. Thanks for sharing Maggs.

paulgc on October 10, 2009:

superb hub, i was doing similar things with fireworks in the eighties and we had a lot of fun. This is the best hub i have read in days,well done maggs224 very enjoyable.

bigmikeh from UK on October 10, 2009:

Great memories! We used to put the jumping jacks under a metal dustbin lid, just to see and hear it go banging round the street.

Barbara Bethard from Tucson, Az on October 09, 2009:

aint that the truth! I swear Maggs didn't you and I grow up on the same street? man we used to have the best time cept ours was on the (scuse me) the 4th of july :) the best time was when one of my group finally had real wheels intead of bikes or dirt bikes...we used to blow up the neighbors malbox so many times they finally encased it in brick!! but oh those bottle rockets didn't you love them...thy'd get away from us and go shooting all over the place...the worst burn I've ever had came from a bottle rocket fight...we'd stand across the street from one another and shoot each other with those things!! if you ducked and ran you were a chicken for the rest of the summer!man, that was something else...the high school I went to had fall halloween type celebration at same time as homecoming and we'd build huge bonfires...the rivalry between the different schools got so bad in the early 60's we were stealing one anothers bonfire materials the week before the event! Man wish we'd had the sense to stand guard :) love you and your hubs dear Maggie