The Great Gunpowder Plot of 1605


Angered by the treatment of Catholics in England, Guy Fawkes and a small group of conspirators developed a plot to blow-up the Houses of Parliament and kill the Protestant King James I in the process. The conspirators stored 36 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar, just under the House of Lords and planned to take action at the Opening of Parliament scheduled for November 5th. A warning letter, however, reached the King, and Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed guarding the barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes was convicted, hung, drawn and quartered, and the King ordered a day of celebration and Thanksgiving. Today, the cellars are still ceremonially searched before the State Opening of Parliament, and Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated every November 5th with elaborate bonfires and fireworks.

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The Oldest Shop in London

The Old Curiosity Shop - Iain Crump
The Old Curiosity Shop – Iain Crump

This London shop dates back to 1567 and is considered to be the oldest shop in central London, surviving both the Great Fire of 1666 and The Blitz. Although the site claims to be the inspiration for Dickens’ fourth novel The Old Curuiosity Shop (1840-1841), there is no evidence to support the claim. The shop’s name was actually added shortly after the novel was published, and it is likely that the owner was connecting the shop to Dickens’ success and fame. Today, the shop carries unique designer fashion and footwear.

The Old Curiosity Shop
13/14 Portsmouth Street, WC2A 2ES