Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

Ordsall Hall in Salford has been put to many uses in its 750 year past, including a school for clergy, a working men’s club and a radio station. It has also been proposed, in Harrison Ainsworth’s 1842 novel Guy Fawkes, that Ordsall Hall was the location at which Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby hatched their Gunpowder Plot in 1605. Ainsworth speculated that Fawkes escaped capture by the king’s soldiers by way of an underground tunnel from the Hall to an Inn at the northern end of Deansgate (Maybe he had a train to catch at Victoria).

Despite there being no firm evidence to support Ainsworth’s tale, the legend of Guy Fawkes has become entwined in the history of Ordsall Hall, to the extent that a near-by road has been renamed Guy Fawkes Street. The Hall also celebrates its linkage with the would-be-assassin by stockpiling gunpowder and blowing it up once a year, but without the intention of murdering a king and under the rather more family friendly title of Lighting The Legend, which also consists of a lantern parade and a dramatic depiction on the Hall’s 700 year history.

It’s the first time the Hall has hosted a fireworks display for 3 years, following restoration work of the Tudor Mansion. Ordsall Community Arts group have organised this year’s event and promise that it will be bigger and better than ever.
Gates open at 6:15pm on Friday the 4th of November, and the light parade will begin at 630pm followed by the theatre performance at 7pm, the night will be brought to a close with the fireworks display at 7:30pm, all of which is completely free.

During the rest of the year, Ordsall Hall is open to the public as a period house and local history museum. In 2007 it was named small visitor attraction of the year by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and reopened in May this year following a £4million refurbishment.

If you’re hatching a plot for bonfire night, steer clear of the tunnels below parliament and head over to Guy Fawkes Street instead.


About shaungibbo

I live in Chorlton, South Manchester and work for an Environmental Support company called ENWORKS. Graduated from Sheffield University with BA(Hons) in Economics & Geography.
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