Victorian Firework night 1866

You might well think that Guy Fawkes Night is a fairly modern commercial invention, but the Victorians were a pretty dab hand at enjoying themselves, they certainly knew how to celebrate events.


On the 5th November 1866, the annual ‘Protestant’ fete was celebrated with great gusto by the folks of Weymouth.

Most of the activity was confined to the sands, with two large bonfires burning down by the shore. For some strange reason a large hulk was described as being well ablaze in the water, with the reflections of the flames rippling in the swell…presumably it was a part of the festivities, and not a bit of opportunistic arson!

The lads (and more than likely some of the naughtier girls too) were letting off crackers and squibbs on the beach much to the amusement of the people that were crowded on the esplanade, having come to the seafront to watch the fun.

Not to be left out, some of the bigger yachts out in the bay let off rockets into the night sky.

This was described as a fairly quiet night for the good old Victorian police force, the only incident they had to deal with was a little lad who been pushed into one of the bonfies,’and was rather burnt on his hands.’

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