Extraordinary Display

Wednesday, 25th December 1872

The South Australian Advertiser (Adelade, SA). page 3.


The Times reports a wonderful display of fireworks at the Crystal Palace. The verbal description is exciting, but the spectacle itself must have been marvellous.

The Times says:
The occasion was rendered the more attractive from the fact that it was announced to be for the benefit of Mr. C. T. Brock, of Nunhead, who for some years past has provided all the displays of this kind for which the Crystal Palace has now become so famous, and that for this reason the fireworks were to be, if possible, unusually remarkable and splendid.

The display had been fixed to be held a week earlier, but the sudden rain threatened to spoil all the set pieces, and rendered the affair a inisemblic failure, and it was consequently determined to carry out the original programme in its integrity last night.

The postponement was, perhaps, fortunate, for the display passed off yesterday with the most complete success.

The amusements yesterday in the building were also very varied, comprising, as they did, performances by the fine orchestral band of the company, under the direction of Mr. Wiw and the band of the Coldstream Guards, under Mr. F. Godfrey; a, billiard match in the concert room between Mr. Cook, the champion of England, and Mr. Bennett, a well known professional player; and the representation in the Opera Theatre of the harvest fairy fable ‘Autumn Leaves,’ and the farce, ‘The Spitalfields Weaver.’

By the late trains in the after noon, from the city and elsewhere, large numbers of visitors arrived, and as the time for the commencement of the display approached, the whole building became very crowded.  The reserved seats in tbe coridors and upper galleries were packed with spectators, while on the terrace slopes and throughout the grounds a great concourse of people had assembled.

The Coldstream Guards Band were stationed on one of the terraces, and played some popular airs during the displays. Precisely at 8 o’clock the fireworks began, there being first of all a Royal saints of aerial maroons, and afterwards the park, fountains, basins, high jets, and water temples were suddenly illuminated by 400 large lights of changing colors.

The effect was magnificent in the extreme, and the constant variety in the shades of the colomn was particularly noticeable. A shont of applause greeted this fairy-like spectacle. The volume of smoke thus produced having gradually died away, a discharge of great rockets succeeded, some of them bursting with a loud explosion and discharging into the air falling stars of all kinds, tints, and colors. Almost simultaneously two splendid magnesiam balloons ascended, lighting up vividly the Palace and the whole of the grounds, and scatterine myriads of shooting: stars and rockets.

There were next displayed a series of twinkling and floating stars, and these were followed by a grand discharge of 20 shells, with a view to show the variety of colors used. This part of the display was extremely pretty, and among the colors shown were crimson. light and deep blue, amber, pead, emerald, and pale green, mauve, orange, pink, purple, yellow, lilac, rose, and violet. An exceedingly good effect was produced, first by a so-called flight of fiery pigeons to and from their cote, and next by a splendid golden cloud, caused by the timoltaeneons firing of 30 ISO-pounder shells, each said to bo 10 inches in diameter.

Much cheering followed this portion of the exhibition. The grand set-piece of the display, portraying the Palace of tile Escurial, was then lighted, and caused an outburst of applause. The lancework covered an area of 2,000 square yards, and the [«1f»ta^w] of the marvellous grill-shaped building were represented with much minuteness. It was first shown in pure white, but it underwent before it expired several exquisite changes in color. This was indeed, the masterpiece of the display, and it reflected the greatest credit on Mr. Brock and his men.

Several other magnesium balloons were sent off, and there was then another discharge of large shells, some of them being six inches in diameter, Olustmting many combinations of colors. An explosion of 50 jewel mines followed, and then a person representing the demon of fire passed along the whole length of the lower terrace, amid a blaze of light; discharging all along his course a number of rockets and other fireworks. A magnificent result was obtained by tbe firing at one moment of 100 immense shells, which, bursting simultaneously, filled the air with thousands of stars, and it was stated that this arrangement had only been perfected once before.

A still greater novelty, however, was next exhibited in the shape of an immense cascade of fire, 300 feet long, dropping firework jewels, and lasting nearly two minutes; and also in that of a comet of great brilliancy, which left the summit of the northern water tower. After a number of minor items in the long programme had been satisfactorily passed, the display concluded with another illumination of the park and fountains the latter being in fall plly discharge of no less than 600 Roman candles and 1,600 large colored rockets.
The applause at intervals was very hearty, and at the end some cheers were especially given in honor of Mr. Brock. The weather, which was somewhat threatening during a part of the evening, fortunately held out, and nothing of any consequence happened to mar the display.

A number of special trains from all the stations conveyed the visitors back to town. The admissions were — by season tickets, 5,890; and on payment, 12,519, making in all 18,439.


25th April 2016 @ 14:12

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