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Plot A Fiery Night Out In The Midlands

Matt Crisp October 15, 2021

Bonfire Night could be a particularly memorable occasion this year, as hopes are high that major public fires and firework displays will be on again, after the mass cancellations of 2020.

Indeed, many will have spent this spectacular occasion having to content themselves with seeing someone else’s backyard fireworks from a distance; the fun of gathering around a fire watching the Guy go up in smoke, waving sparklers around and enjoying some bangers, the late evening roasting marshmallows as the embers die down – all this was missing for so many last year.

For that reason, November 2021 could be a time to celebrate in style using our minibus hire services in Birmingham. While there may or may not be some public displays put on in the city, one fireworks spectacular that is definitely taking place is happening on Saturday November 6th at Himley Park in south Staffordshire, just outside Dudley.

The short trip across the West Midlands will be well worth it for many reasons. By day, Himley Park is a fine open space, complete with its hall, woodlands, fields, lakes and a string of fishing ponds. But on the night, there will be a huge display with a circus theme, and the show runs from 16:30 to 22:30, ensuring everyone who buys a ticket will get their money’s worth.

With the wide open spaces providing a great view of the night sky above the park, the event will be a true spectacular and a great evening out.

However, it is not just going to be about a resumption of a great British autumn tradition. The Park will be holding the nearest public display to a site with a genuine historical connection to the very reason the fires are lit each November.

Holbeche House lies about a mile south of the park on the outskirts of Kingswinford. Today, this grand old building serves as a nursing home, but back in 1605, it housed sympathisers to the plotters.  Lead conspirator Robert Catesby fled there from London with some of the other plotters after Fawkes was caught red-handed.

They still had a lot of gunpowder with them, but it got wet during the journey up. In an attempt to dry it out, they brought it indoors beside a roaring fire, a move worthy of a Darwin award had there been such a thing back then. Predictably, a spark from the fire ignited the powder and caused a large explosion, injuring several people.

Worse still, the detonation attracted the attention of the authorities, who were trying to hunt the plotters down. The badly damaged building was surrounded the following day and while some of the plotters had already fled, Catesby and some others were now cornered, and killed in the ensuing gunfight. Even today, marks from the musket fire can be seen on some of the external walls.

It is tempting to think that perhaps some of the remaining plotters ran away across the fields and through the woods around Himley Hall that make up the park today, little knowing that one day this would be the site of annual commemorations of their failure!