Woking celebrates England’s most notorious terrorist by lighting up the Surrey skies

November is an interesting time to be in the UK. This is the period when all of England embarks on a massive celebration of the time when a Yorkshire ‘terrorist’ very nearly destroyed the houses of parliament with explosives. In order to help people fully appreciate the dangers involved in the incident many of the shops sell family sized packs of explosives which invariably lead to hundreds of burns and other injuries – often to small children. In addition thousands of pets and wild animals are scared out of their wits by the millions of explosions and flashes during the nights leading up to this great anniversary.

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1 Guy Fawkes Celebration Fireworks - 2015

1 Guy Fawkes Celebration Fireworks – 2015

Not wanting to be left out of this cultural high spot I checked out the time of a rather large celebratory event about half a mile from my living room and loaded myself with lots of chocolate and red wine in anticipation of some visual excitement. The event in question was the annual Woking Firework Display which took place in the town’s main park. As my apartment is about 12 storeys above the park I tend to get a pretty impressive birds eye view of the fireworks without having to leave my sofa. Fortunately I was able to get a few photographs of the fireworks before the wine took effect.

2 Woking Guy Fawkes Celebration Fireworks- 2015

2 Woking Guy Fawkes Celebration Fireworks- 2015

To help set the scene here is a  picture of my ship shaped apartment block. I live on the south end which allows me to enjoy the fireworks stretching across most of the south Surrey countryside.

Rather high base used to capture the firework extravaganza in Woking Park

Rather high base used to capture the firework extravaganza in Woking Park

Chris's lounge view over the Surrey countryside (taken earlier in the year to avoid contamination by red wine and chocolate)

Chris’s lounge view over the Surrey countryside (taken earlier in the year to avoid contamination by red wine and chocolate)

Fortunately the weather was very mild on this evening (7th November 2015) so I was able to open the windows without risk of hypothermia. This enabled me, in addition to the visual treat, to be able to enjoy the Star Wars theme and Adele’s James Bond ditty bellowing out from the loud speaker systems in the park below. Any poor animals in the park that had not already died of fright due to the explosions probably ended up with tinnitus!

In case you missed your own local terrorist remembrance display here is a selection of my pictures of the evening. To enhance your pleasure why not also listen to my baroque interpretations play list on YouTube  – just click on the box below:

 3 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0641 (2) 5 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0627 (2) 6 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0606 (2) 7 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0621 (2) 8 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0634 (2) 9 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0648 (2) 10 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0603 (2) 11 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0598 (2) 12 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0652 (2) 13 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0623 (2) 14 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0673 (2) 15 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0607 (2) 17 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0604 (2) 18 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0628 (2) 19 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0662 (2) 20 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0640 (2) 21 Woking Surrey UK 2015 Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks taken from Centrium Building by Chris Duggleby DSCF0663 (2)

Any non-Brits may wonder why we go to all this trouble to celebrate a former terrorist. Guy Fawkes was born in the town of York in 1570 and eventually became part of a catholic conspiracy to blow up the then houses of parliament by placing explosives in the cellars. Suspicions were raised when catholic members of parliament received letters advising them that it would be in their best interest to stay away from work for a couple of days. King James got wind of this and on the 5th November (‘Bonfire night’) he had the cellers searched and found Guy Fawkes with a rather large amount of explosives and a long match.

King James ordered that Guy Fawkes be taken for a stretch in the Tower of London. In those days a ‘stretch’ in prison had a more literal connotation than today. Basically prisoners who required interrogation were often increased in length during the questioning process. This was because of the use of the rack which pulled their arms and legs in opposite directions. To fill in time they were often asked difficult questions during this stretching exercise. If they got the answers right the stretching would stop. At the end of the process they were given a confession to sign as a true and accurate statement of their answers to the questions. Although their arms and legs may have been torn out of their sockets many prisoners, like Guy Fawkes, still managed to sign the confession (although their writing was perhaps a little untidy).

The sentence given to Fawkes and his conspirators in 1606 required for them to be dragged along the ground across town behind a horse, to have their genitals cut off and burned before their eyes and then have their bowels and hearts cut out. The bits of their bodies were then to be displayed in the open air (to become “prey for the fowls of the air”) and were eventually distributed around the country to act as a disincentive to other potential conspirators. It would appear that guy himself (unlike his less lucky conspirators) managed to break his neck as he mounted the scaffold which meant that by dying he did not have to endure some of the more agonising elements of his punishment. The following picture depicts this first ‘Guy Fawkes’ celebration:

The execution of Guy Fawkes by Nicolaes Jansz Visscher

The execution of Guy Fawkes by Nicolaes Jansz Visscher

For new visitors to my site you may be interested in some other articles featuring Woking and the Surrey countryside. Here are a couple of examples:

Walking Round Woking – Part 1: River Wey, Newark Priory Ruins & 13th Century Royal Palace

Prehistoric Britain (or more precisely: Prehistoric Woking!)

Searching for Cannibals in Surrey

The beach where the Martian invaders landed

Newark Priory, near Woking inspires TRANSFORMATES’ ‘Rock the Priory’ (with Cannons)

English Countryside: Gallery

Enjoy the rest of Sunday and the forthcoming week (and please be sensitive to any animals that may still be on a state of shock).

Chris Duggleby

If you found this article interesting please consider taking a look at some of my other recent reports.

Just click on the titles below:

…starting with some fun reports…

21st June 2015: Bio-undies: Guilt free Passion with ‘Easy Emma’ and ‘Loose Harry’and Getting Rid of Garden Snails with Rent-a-Duck

4th March 2015: Hamburg Reeperbahn (St. Pauli): Germans install walls that urinate on passers-by

19th April 2014: German Police Catch Hedgehogs Testing Home Made Crash Helmets in Saarbrücken

17th April 2014: Niche On-line Dating Services (Specialities: Herpes, Thrush andGenital Warts)

18th March 2014: Germany and Finland Joint Investigation: New Case of Sexual Cannibalism Including Self-mutilation (Castration) During Intercourse.

18th August 2012: How Bavarians and Austrians use their middle finger – Fingerhakeln: a men-only sport (did Arnold Schwarzenegger start training this way?).

…and here’s some more serious stuff…

25th October 2015: Health Risks: Food allergy prevention – Latest research ‘feed infants early with allergenic food

17th October 2015: Health Risk: Vitamin and antioxidant supplements help cancer cells become malignant – latest research from Texas

31st May 2015: German Concern about Potentially Carcinogenic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Cosmetics  

11th May 2014: Product Development Risk: New Air Conditioning Coolant Gas Produces Carbonyl Difluoride (Highly Toxic – Related to WW1 Gas Phosgene) in Vehicle Fires

16th April 2014: Ethical Pricing: Same Drug – For Leukaemia 21 Euro(Now Withdrawn) – For Multiple Sclerosis 888 Euro

6th April 2014: Product Quality Risk: Shoes Sold On-line By Zalando Recalled Due To Chromium 6 Contamination – Known Allergen And Carcinogen

29th December 2012: Spreading diarrhea and vomit through the washing machine– The Norovirus propagator in our kitchen

You can also find some of my more humorous reports in the Alpine Press section of this site using the link here.

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4 thoughts on “Woking celebrates England’s most notorious terrorist by lighting up the Surrey skies

  1. Gruesome storey (your spelling, as we Americans leave out the e. Stories is plural.) Noticed that your Fireworks were similar yet many appeared different that ours so must be packaged in different ways. I learn a LOT from you in your interesting columns.

    • Thanks Linda,
      you had me worried that I had miss-spelled my story (as in ‘yarn’) about guy Fawkes by using the word storey (as in ‘floor’ of a building). By the way did you know that in the UK the ground floor in the building is actually ‘zero’ and our first floor is what most people in the US would call the second floor? I hope my little introduction to the early English judicial system was not too gory! The fireworks in the photos were rather expensive ones purchased by the local town so I suspect they were a bit more interesting that the ones most of us set off in our gardens. Fortunately the animals are now getting some peace.
      All the best,
      Chris.

  2. Hi Chris! Great article and pics! Although we lived on the Old Woking Road, we didn’t get to see the Woking fireworks (maybe they didn’t have the show way back then!) as we were in boarding school in Sussex where we had a big bonfire and minimal fireworks….

    • Lovely to hear from you Sally – I suspect I can probably see your old house from my living room! I can actually see Guildford Cathedral from here (including from my bed – keeps me on the straight and narrow!). Not sure when the fireworks in Woking Park started – they have certainly been going for about 15 years or more (that was the first time that I visited).
      Kind regards,
      Chris.

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