The East End of London has been home to a whole host of crooks and villains over the years, but at this time of year, there is one name, in particular, that is at the forefront of everyone’s mind: the infamous Guy Fawkes.
Many of us have grown up knowing his name and every year, on the fifth night of the eleventh month, we commemorate his failed attempt to take down Parliament with a foiled gunpowder plot. There could be no more poignant time to join us on our Westminster Tours than in November. Want to know more? Join us as we take a trip down memory lane and bring the past back up to date.
The History of Guy Fawkes & Bonfire Night
In 1605, a man named Guy Fawkes (he was also known as Guido Fawkes thanks to his time spent in Spain) took part in a five-man plot to take down the government and murder King James I. Having acquired gunpowder, the group of men planned to blow up parliament in order to overthrow the King. The men may well have succeeded had an anonymous letter not been sent to a Catholic Lord; the letter was shared with the King who demanded a search below the House of Lords – or Palace of Westminster, as it is known these days.
The King’s men found Guy Fawkes guarding the gunpowder, foiling their attempt – he was then arrested and charged him with high treason. He was sentenced to death by execution but died accidentally shortly before he was due to be hanged. Despite this, he was still quartered and his body sent to all four corners of the land as a warning to others.
In celebration of avoiding an otherwise almost certain demise, the King ordered the people of London to light bonfires in celebration and thus, Bonfire Night as we know it was born.
Bonfire Night Today
These days, bonfire night celebrations are often accompanied by fireworks displays – symbolic of the explosions in the sky that would have occurred had the plot succeeded – and effigies of Guy Fawkes are often thrown on the bonfire.
As such an important part in the UK’s political history, it seems only fitting that our Westminster tours this November are celebrated.
Taking in the sights past the world-famous Houses of Parliament, our expert guided tour takes you on a walk through a millennia of history – and you get to experience the Churchill War Rooms, 10 Downing Street and Westminster Abbey on our historical Westminster tour.
Suitable for the whole family, our tour runs daily at 11am from the Winston Churchill statue in Parliament Square, culminating in Spitalfields.
Want to know more? Book your place today and join us to have all your questions answered! For further information or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.