REMEMBER, REMEMBER …
The Treason Act 1351 is one of the oldest UK Acts still in force today (albeit now substantially amended) and it is under this Act that Guy Fawkes was found guilty in 1606. When Guy Fawkes was found with 36 barrels of explosives under the Houses of Parliament on 5 November 1605 he was said to be planning the assassination of King James I along with several others. Although Guy Fawkes’ fate with his co-conspirators was to be hanged and quartered, since the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 the maximum sentence for treason in the UK is life imprisonment.
After the failed Gunpowder Plot, Londoners were encouraged to celebrate the king’s narrow escape and subsequently Parliament passed the Observance of 5th November Act which introduced a day of thanksgiving for the plot’s failure. This Act was repealed in 1859.
Despite this, the tradition of Bonfire Night still continues and there are still a number of Government regulations surrounding Bonfire Night although now their purpose is not to enforce celebration but to ensure public safety and amenity. For example, you cannot set off fireworks between 11.00pm and 7.00am unless it is Bonfire Night (when the cut-off point is midnight) or New Year’s Eve, Diwali or Chinese New Year (when the cut off is 1.00am) or that you could be fined if smoke from your bonfire drifts across a road causing a hazard to traffic.
If you are planning to visit a bonfire or firework display this November make sure you stay safe.