Brocks Fireworks

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Brock's Fireworks Ltd is a manufacturer of fireworks, founded in London and subsequently based in Hemel Hempstead, Dumfriesshire and Norfolk.[1]

Brock's was founded in 1698 in Islington by John Brock and it is the oldest British firework manufacturer. John Brock died on 5 November 1720 aged 43 and is buried St James Anglican, Clerkenwell (London. In 1825 the factory was located in a residential area in Baker's Row, Whitechapel, London: it was destroyed when a boy who was ramming gunpowder into a firework accidentally created a spark which ignited it, and threw it aside as he ran out in fright. Fifty pounds of gunpowder and a large amount of saltpetre exploded immediately, blowing the roof off, setting fire to the building, and smashing every pane of glass in most of the adjoining streets.[2]

The company moved to south London, to South Norwood and Sutton and developed an association with the Crystal Palace, devising free public displays (known as "Brock's Benefits") and adopting "Crystal Palace" as a brand name.[1][3]

The 1887 and several subsequent editions of Whitaker's Almanack have advertisements for Brock's, under an earlier name: the company provided fireworks for the Crystal Palace company, the UK War Office, the Government of India and other bodies.

The company moved to Hemel Hempstead in 1910[4] and stayed there until 1971, when it moved again, this time to Swaffham, Norfolk and Sanquhar, Scotland.[1][3] In the 1930s, Brock's built homes and a sports club[5] for its workers near to its 207-acre (0.84 km2) site on the north eastern side of Hemel Hempstead. The street names (Ranelagh Road and Vauxhall Road) reflected earlier associations with south London.[6] Henry Brock died Oct 4 1901 at age 53, and was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Leverstock Green.[6]

Brock's Fireworks was bought by Standard Fireworks in 1988,and Standard Fireworks were bought by Black Cat in 1998.

Brock's Fireworks Limited is now back in London and is solely in the hands of UK directors. Brock's Fireworks are still manufacturing pyrotechnics devices and performing Professional Displays around the world. Brock's Fireworks Limited aims are to produce and promote high quality pyrotechnics in the UK and to protect the history of the British Fireworks Industry.


  1. ^ a b c Mayfield, Beowulf (20 October 2005). "New light on the fireworks industry". Watford Observer. Retrieved 5 February 2009.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ Leigh Hunt, The Examiner 1825 (John Hunt, London): 'Dreadful Explosion', p. 566 (see Harvard online digital version).
  3. ^ a b "The Companies: Brock's". Firework Art. Archived from the original on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2009. 
  4. ^ Some sources state that the move to Hemel Hempstead took place in the early 1930s but Firework Arts and the Watford Observer's sources appear to be better.
  5. ^ The former sports club site is now the ground of Hemel Hempstead Football Club.
  6. ^ a b "The Street Names of Hemel Hempstead (T to Z)". Hemel Hempstead Gazette. Retrieved 5 February 2009. [dead link]

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