Advertisement for Chescoe's firework club
Medium: Print on paper
The use of fireworks was first recorded in England in 1486 at a display in honour of King Henry VII's wedding, but it was during the 19th century that their potential was most fully realised. Improvements in technology and a deeper understanding of the chemistry of mixing metals and salts meant that bigger, more colourful, and therefore more impressive, fireworks could now be produced.
Particularly spectacular were those used by Charles Brock for his 'firework fetes' at the Crystal Palace during the 1860s and 70s. The success of these extravaganzas inspired other pyrotechnists to create equally dramatic displays. So popular did these become that, by the end of the century, it was not uncommon for birthdays, weddings, and other public and private events to include firework displays. A large range of fireworks was also available for the public to buy, such as Brock's Golden Rains and Crackers sold here at Chescoe's Toffee Shop.