Remember, Remember

Folklore is a vibrant element of ‘Britishness’ and part of our living cultural heritage. The beliefs, customs and expressions that link the past to the present help us to understand our specific communities and cultures, as well as our shared humanity.

Far from being static, these customs remain relevant by adapting to circumstance; with the ‘folk’ (people) and the ‘lore’ (stories) continually informing and influencing each other.

There are over 720 recorded seasonal events, rites and customs practiced in the UK each year, and the celebrations on November 5 are woven into the British calendar along with many other festivals, of which fire is a key element. A new exhibition, Remember, Remember: A History of Fireworks in Britain, organised by the Museum of British Folklore, will show vintage fireworks, packaging and posters from the collection of Maurice Evans, many examples of which are featured here.

The vivid colours and graphics on display represent a time when anonymous fireworks factory workers designed the packaging and promotional material for all the big names in British fireworks manufacturing: Standard,
Pains, Wessex, Brock’s and Astra.

Simon Costin is a designer, art director, curator, and set and exhibition designer. His life-long interest in folklore has resulted in the launch of the Museum of British Folklore project, a centre devoted to celebrating the UK’s rich folkloric cultural heritage. Along with the MBF team, he is currently engaged on a two year exhibition schedule for the museum and is also writing a book on the customs and traditions of Britain. The first major exhibition by the Museum of British Folklore is Remember, Remember: A History of Fireworks in Britain, which is on at the Compton Verney gallery in Warwickshire until December 15. All the fireworks, packaging and posters included in the exhibition (and featured here) are from the collection of Maurice Evans.

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