Page:Pyrotechnics the history and art of firework making (1922).djvu/88

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On the occasion of Torré's benefit, in 1772, there was a further exhibition of this kind, representing Hercules delivering Theseus from Hell.

During this period attempts were made by neighbouring residents to stop the displays as a nuisance, but nothing came of it, and the fireworks continued.

At the annual festival in 1772, the display included a temple of "upwards of 10,000 cases of different fires, all lighted at the same time."

Other pyrotechnists firing at the gardens were Clithero and Caillot, both of whom had conducted displays at Ranelagh, the latter being responsible for the fireworks up to the closing of the gardens about 1778.

It is recorded that Dr. Johnson once visited the gardens on a firework night, but unfortunately a wet one, and notice was given to the handful of visitors that the fireworks were wet and the display would be cancelled. The doctor, however, was of opinion that it was a "mere excuse to save their crackers for a more profitable company," and suggested that a threat to break the lamps would result in the show being forthcoming. Some young men standing by endeavoured, under his direction, to ignite the pieces, but unsuccessfully.

The Mulberry Gardens, Clerkenwell, were among the earliest to make fireworks a feature. Displays took place from the opening in 1742, and ten years later Clanfield gave a display each evening.

Two neighbouring taverns, "Lord Cobham's Head" and the "Sir John Oldcastle," had displays from 1744, and in 1751 "New fireworks in the Chinese manner" were announced at the latter establishment.

The New Wells, in the same neighbourhood as the foregoing, had had a display as early as 1740, but it appears to have been of a scenic nature, representing the Siege of Portobello.