Fountains of Light at Salisbury Museum

This new interactive firework exhibition, opening on 17 October, is sure to go with a bang! Discover how fireworks are made and what makes the exciting visual effects they produce. Find out who invented them and how they are used today.

The exhibition is a chance to explore some of the riches contained within the archives of Pain’s Fireworks, the world’s best-known supplier of fireworks, now based in Whiteparish. James Pain started the modern company in the mid 19th Century, but it is rumoured that his ancestor Henry Pain supplied Guy Fawkes with the explosives used in the Gunpowder plot of 1605. We still celebrate the spectacular failure of the plot today with bonfires and fireworks on 5 November each year.

Pain’s also made distress flares and rescue equipment; The ‘Titanic’ carried a supply of their flares which were fired after the ship had struck the iceberg. Unfortunately there was no standardised system for interpreting the signals at the time, so the other ships in the area sailed on without offering assistance, thinking that the ‘unsinkable’ vessel was holding a celebration.

Come and find out about the history and manufacture of fireworks at Salisbury Museum from Saturday 17 October 2009 – Wednesday 6 January 2010.