Norwich Firework display

Monstre Fete and Fancy Fair



[001363] [Norwich Monster Fete with Fireworks]. Descriptive Programme of a Monstre Fete and Fancy Fair, to be Given By the Society for the Promotion of Public Amusements … Norwich, on Monday, the Fifth of July, 1858 at the Old Cricket Ground, Lakenham. No Place: No Publisher, 1858. First Edition. 12mo. Paper Covers. Pamphlet. Good. 32pp, original paper covers, no place, but probably Norwich.

Covers detached, stitching gone, effectively disbound, covers lightly foxed and browned, minor chipping to spine. Old paper reinforcing to fore-edge of reverse of upper cover, lightly browned throughout, printing flaw to page ten, first page of text narrower with text tight to fore-edge with no loss and with no signs of having been cropped, generally quite clean.

The Fete was organised by a ‘Mr Hoffman’, who lauds the poets and the past, and desires to ‘revive noble and manly sports’. The Fete included performers, bands, hawking, archery, balloons, juggling, rural sports, a concert and fireworks, with the programme explaining the ‘nature and antiquity of the leading sports and feats’. The falconers ‘will have trained birds to dispose of’, there were ‘one hundred balloons ascending’, and ‘people can be accommodated, for a fee of ten guineas each’, while the fireworks ‘will illustrate the perfection of the pyrotechnic art’ with a ‘magnificent pyrotechnic display’, the highlights of which are then listed, including the ‘discharge of the great Lancaster shell, as the correct model of the one for the destruction of Sebastopol’, the fireworks being a competition between Herr Neinberg of Berlin and Mr Coe of Norwich, ‘will heighten the interest of this exhibition’.

Despite the promising announcements, it appears that the Fete was in fact a bit of a damp squib. Armstrong’s ‘Norfolk Diary’, volume II, page 72 notes that “All Norfolk has for some months been full of expectations at the announcement of a Monster Fete which was to take place today in Norwich. As I give the choir an annual treat they wished it to take the form, this year, of going to this performance … We started at 8am and on arriving at Norwich we found the shops closed and thousands of people in the streets. The ‘Monster Fete’ turned out to be a ‘monster humbug’ except for the fireworks which certainly were so good as to redeem much of the previous disappointment. As for Mr Hoffman who got up the Fete – he very prudently took himself off before the conclusion”. From the library of R.C. Fiske with his bookplate laid in loosely.

Uncommon, Manchester only in COPAC