Planning Some Fireworks? Find Out Why On Gunpowder Plot Website

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 04 November 2005
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  • Archived article
Shows the Gunpowder, Treason and Plot website logo, which consists of the profile of Guy Fawkes.

© Parliamentary Archives/ 24 Hour Museum.

As we all know, November 5 is about rockets, catherine wheels and, of course, huge great bonfires. Come nightfall sparklers will be handed out, dads everywhere will be searching for the matches and stuffed 'guys' will be prepared for burning.

It's a tradition most of us in the UK maintain, but just how much do we all know about the reasons why?

This year, it's 400 years since a certain Guy Fawkes failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament and a major new website - www.gunpowderplot.parliament.uk - gets to the bottom of this most notorious of plots.

Archive material and original documents – including the signed confessions of none other than Guy Fawkes, before and after torture – are used to build an interactive and authoritative account of the political climate at the time as well as the plot, its aftermath and the people involved.

The project was commissioned by The Parliamentary Archives and staff at the 24 HM put it together with expert research and support from the History of Parliament Trust.

Shows a screenshot of the homepage of the Gunpowder, Treason and Plot website.

© Parliamentary Archives/ 24 Hour Museum.

Designed and built by award-winning e-learning specialists (mwr) of Winchester, the project consists of two websites – one for young children and one for a general audience.

Both sites aim to provide a definitive guide to the failed Gunpowder Plot of November 5 1605.

"Most people have heard of Bonfire Night and Guy Fawkes but the significance of it all is not always understood," explained David Prior, Assistant Clerk of the Records at the Parliamentary Archives.

"This project has given us the opportunity to use exciting ways of telling the story of the Gunpowder Plot on its 400th anniversary in a way that will hopefully engage people with parliamentary history and, indeed, Parliament itself. In doing so we have drawn on the resources held amongst the Parliamentary Archives and the Palace of Westminster collections as well as those held by other institutions for whose co-operation we are very grateful."

Shows a graphic of bearded men's heads stuck on poles.

© Parliamentary Archives/ 24 Hour Museum.

Among the institutions that contributed material are The National Archives, the National Portrait Gallery, Lambeth Palace Library and The British Museum.

24 HM Editor, Jon Pratty said of the project: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the 24 Hour Museum to work with one of the most historic archives in the world using material which is absolutely fascinating and original.”

Competition Alert!

The History of Parliament Trust is running a Guy Fawkes flavoured competition for 7-14 year olds and their schools. To find out more visit the 24 HM zone for kids www.show.me.uk.

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