Even if I didn’t have the date constantly displayed on the bottom of my computer screen I’d know just by glancing at my WordPress statistics that the Fifth of November is approaching. Search strings such as “Penny for the Guy”, “Guy Fawkes” and “bonfire night” along with the decades “1950s” and “1960s” are prolific in the run-up to the annual fireworks and conflagration rituals celebrated on the anniversary of the failed so-called “Gunpowder Plot” of centuries ago. Around this time of year, views for my pages related to the event are considerably increased from the normal visitor figures.
I guess it is nostalgia of days gone by that visitors are wishing to be reminded of their childhood in the 1950s and 60s, certainly as far as my experiences are concerned this was a period when do-it-yourself back-garden gatherings amongst neighbours were prolific and memorable, tailing off in the 1970s and nowadays mainly confined to large community organised bonfires and firework displays. I have written a few recollections about the bonfires we used to have during my youth and clearly, from the search statistics, many feel a yearning to read about times past and are searching for memories, reminisces and photographs of such occasions from a bygone era and I’m pleased my contributions are regularly discovered and read by on-line viewers.
I’m now scraping the barrel to find photographs from my own negatives suitable for illustrating my annual reminder of bonfires past. This is one taken in 1972 and shows many of the youngsters who were resident that week posing with our Guy. It’s a bit blurred, guess I had a fairly long shutter speed and some of the kids moved. The location was the main front entrance of the “Jane Hodge Holiday Home” and I worked there from the age of 19 in 1968, a couple of months after it first opened, until September 1974 when lack of funds forced the home to close.