Gunpowder, treason and plotNovember 5, 2007 at 12:03 pm | Posted in 1605, 5 November, Bonfire Night, Exhibits, Fifth of November, Fireworks, Fog, Gunpowder, Gunpowder treason and plot, My photos, National celebrations, November 5, Remember, Tower of London, White Tower | Leave a comment
Preparing to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, the Gunpowder Plotters transported 36 barrels of gunpowder across the River Thames in a rowing boat!
Sounds crazy, but if the river had been as foggy as it was here yesterday, a boatload of barrels could have been transferred easily without detection.
(A year ago today, Eton boathouses were barely visible from the other side of the riverbank at Windsor, and the Japanese tourists, whose coaches pulled into the Castle Coach Park that morning, couldn’t even see Windsor Castle less than a block away!)
The photo at the top introduces a superb exhibit in the Tower of London.
Below, you see a small sample of the barrels that composed the massive cache stored in the tower centuries ago—one of the largest munitions dumps in England, right under the King’s bed! Someone had the bright idea of redistributing this enormous powder keg, but only after the Great Fire of London in 1666, which had mercifully stopped just short of this fortified storage site. Close shave!
Back to 1605 … The 400th Anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot was celebrated in 2005, and the exhibit that was in the Houses of Parliament is now online.
The attempt to destroy King, Queen, all heirs (but a young Elizabeth who was to be kidnapped to safety, for later installation as the new puppet ruler) and the entire membership of Parliament (except for one who was warned against attending the State Opening Ceremony) in 1605 failed. All over Britain, this story is remembered and celebrated every Fifth of November, and with renewed focus on the four hundredth anniversary last year.
Below are a few pictures from the Tower of London exhibit, presenting this historical story in a current-day shock! horror! newpaper style:
You have to visit the online exhibit for kids to see a painting of the arrest of Guy Fawkes, or the Parliament website for more details of how close this plot came to success before its discovery, and the plotters’ ultimate ends.
To learn more about Guy Fawkes, the best book for kids of all ages (ioho) is by Richard Brassey.