Old Palace of Westminster gets blown up

In a complete waste of advertisers’ money*, to ‘celebrate’ the 400th anniversay, an ITV programme made an accurate reconstruction of the Palace of Westminster as it was in 1605 and then proceeded to blow it up, using the same amount of gunpowder that was packed into the cellar in that failed plot. Somewhat predictably, the 36 barrels of gunpowder did indeed destroy most of the building.

If it had succeeded, the celebrations that take place on 5th November every would probably be different. But the significance of the date reduces, as burning old Guido is no longer PC (and is probably against most clean air legislation), bonfire parties become more organised and less ‘throw a few things together in the back yard and burn a big hole in the lawn’ variety. Growing up, it was interesting to realise that some of the plotters, including the leader Robert Catesby, had met their end at Holbeche House, which is only about a mile from where I grew up. It’s a nursing home now, but I recall thinking about the plot this time every year as we drove past it.

*If the BBC had done this, you can guarantee that many of the papers would have called it a waste of licence payers’ money.

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