Being ideally positioned just off the M1, in the middle of the UK makes our showroom the ideal spot to meet up. It is no surprise therefore that avid firework collectors come over to see us regularly. They meet up to exchange goods, chat about recent ‘acquisitions’ and of course to establish what else they are looking to find and add to their collections.
Fireworks have been around in the UK for literally hundreds of years but they were widely popularised in the mid 18th century as a result of a London-based company, Brocks Fireworks, the company responsible for an annual fireworks display from 1865-1936 covering a period of more than 70 years. The company was so popular in years gone by that they even appeared on a Pathe Newsreel detailing how they made lancework and Catherine wheels.
Collectors of history and ephemera spend an absolute fortune on their collections and are pretty much aware of what other avid collectors of pyro paraphernalia have in their collection and are in the process of adding.
One such collector is Maurice Evans, a man who is well into his eighties now and yet his fascination with fireworks shows no sign of dwindling – i reckon (just like myself) he used to be the one with his face stuck to the window of the local fireworks retailer on the run up to Bonfire Night.
Today, he has some real treasures, all fine examples of fireworks from years gone by. He is proudest of his exploding ‘firework fruits’ with a price tag of 2s and 6d (30p to those among us who can vaguely remember buying a Mars bar on changeover day and was gutted that it cost all of my shiny 2p coin) and more worryingly some WWII shells and mortars.
He said during a recent interview for a magazine article confirmed that the majority of the fireworks are either dummies or have had their gunpowder removed. However, it wouldn’t be possible to do this with Catherine wheels and bangers without damaging them. I would add that this is an accepted practice amongst firework collectors.
Collectors, whether the passion be for stamps, coins or fireworks as in this instance are a new breed altogether. Fireworks are brightly coloured, with a unique smell and are very tactile which of course adds to the fascination.
If you do have some fireworks hidden away that you would like to share pictures of, if you could let us have a few shots we will put them onto our Facebook and web pages.