Thursday, November 05, 2009

November the 5th 1888

From the Daily News, 6 November 1888:

'Some attempt to keep up Guy Fawkes' Day was made in London; but the original object was completely lost sight of. Such effigies as were carried about were those of persons who have recently made themselves popular or notorious. Amongst a few political "guys" there was a large sprinkling of stuffed figures labelled "Jack the Ripper" or "Leather Apron." Sir Charles Warren also came in for some attention. At Hampstead the usual bonfire was lighted on the heath, in the presence of a crowd of visitors. There was also a procession of masqueraders. The annual carnival of the "bonfire boys" was held at Lewisham amid a good display of coloured lights, but the bonfire was dispensed with. At Eltham Mr. Parnell and other Irish members of Parliament were "guyed."...

Unfortunately some accidents are reported in connection with the celebration. At Swanley a set piece was accidentally ignited, and a youth had one of his hands blown off. At Crayford a young man was discharging a pistol when it burst in his hand and injured it. A rocket was let off at Bexley with the result that it put out the eye of a young lady named Jephson'.

This took place at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders, hence the reference to the subdued celebrations. Interesting reference to the Lewisham 'bonfire boys' carnival would like to know more.

1 comment:

IMR said...

Very interesting, thought Bonfire Societies were pretty much limited to Sussex. (Am off to see the parade at Battle this Saturday. It's a bit less, er, clannish than the one at Lewes.) Thanks a lot for the mention and link for the Ladywell bats!