Roald Dahl on Bonfire Night

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Roald Dahl HQ
Posted on
4:00pm, 5th November
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Roald Dahl as a schoolboy, illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake for Boy: Tales of Childhood

"November is, of course, the month of fireworks and Guy Fawkes." Roald Dahl on how he used to spend Bonfire Night

Every year on 5th November, UK skies are lit up by fireworks and bonfires to commemorate the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, a night back in 1605 when Guy Fawkes and his fellow plotters planned to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I. 

As a schoolboy, Roald Dahl and his fellow students were no exception. In My Year - a collection of writings released towards the end of his life - Roald looked back on his school Bonfire Night experiences.

Roald Dahl on 5th November


"November is, of course, the month of fireworks and Guy Fawkes. Oh, how we used to look forward to the fifth of November at boarding school. In these enlightened times no one will believe the things we were allowed to do on that famous night. Each of us eighty small boys aged between seven and twelve were given a box of fireworks (the cost charged up to our parents' bill) and we were all allowed to go out on to the football field in the dark and set them off..."

For more on what happened next, take a look at My Year.