KINGSTON WI: Meeting October 4, at Kingston Parish Hall. Gone in a Flash, A History of Firework Displays by Tim Wilcox.

Before our talk by Tim Wilcox we had our business part of the meeting. The treasurer, Carol Taplin, told us that our situation was very healthy, yet we need to fund raise so we can remain that way. The preserves that are nearing their sell-by date were sold at a reduction at the meeting. Members were reminded that the shoe boxes will need to be sent off soon so members donations of either money or items is becoming due.

The president and secretary represented Kingston WI at past member Marnie Spruce’s Funeral on Monday October 1.

Activities include a walk in the Ringmer area on October 24, meet at the end of the Street at 9.30am. Tap dancing is at the Parish Hall on the second and fourth Thursday of each month 7.30pm. Pilates is also at the Parish Hall, every Tuesday 2pm to 3pm. Craft Club is every Friday at the Pavilion, 2pm to 4pm. Members were told that a visit to the Depot Cinema for a future performance of either ballet or opera is to be announced next month.

Tim Wilcox gave us a very unusual and interesting talk and slide show about the history of firework displays. They began in the 16th century and improved and increased in size in the 17th and 18th centuries. We were shown slides depicting famous structures like Big Ben’s tower being used as a launch pad for fireworks in 1713 long before the display for the London Olympics. Other displays were performed for special occasions, such as the marriage of the Duke of Wittenberg, which lasted a month in 1630 and of the marriage the Dauphin in 1763 in Paris. Great European kings and emperors like Louis 14th were so rich and able to display their wealth with lavish firework displays. In Green Park in April 1749 fireworks and Handel’s music celebrated the end of war in Europe. Some of the costs to present these displays were enormous; one event cost £12,000 in the 1700’s, and to celebrate peace after the Napoleonic war a display cost £38,000. Famous artists such as Turner and Whistler captured displays on canvas but some of the best remembered displays come with Olympic game’s ceremonies, especially Beijing, China, the inventors of fireworks and London 2012. (Helen Dudley).