Home Firework History Classic Brands

Classic Brands


Pain’s Fireworks is one of the oldest firework companies in The UK and dates back to the 15th Century in the East End of London.

There is also a claim that the barrels of gunpowder used for the plot to blow up the houses of parliament were produced by none other than John Pain who is the man that founded Pain’s Fireworks.

Around 1850 James Pain and Sons Ltd began in Brixton, and by 1877 they moved to their now-famous base at Mitcham in Surrey.

The match company Bryant and May bought the company in the early ’60s
and in 1965 WAECO (Wessex Aircraft Engineering Company Ltd) or Wessex Fireworks and James Pain and Sons Ltd Merged to form Pain’s Wessex and their firework productions moved to Salisbury.

Pain’s Wessex was sold in 1980 to John Deeker who now goes by the name of Pain’s Fireworks and still to this day operates from Whiteparish in Salisbury, They are one of the largest fireworks displays companies with offices all over the world, they also still sell retail fireworks.

Pain’s Firework Factory worker 1928

Two Pain’s Factory Workers Showing off some Fireworks in 1928


One of the most popular firework ‘brands’ in the UK was (and still is) Standard of Huddersfield. Now owned by Chinese Company Black Cat.

Standard no longer manufacture fireworks in the UK

However, in the 1950s the company made millions of individual fireworks every year – mainly for the November 5th market. Their advertising was very much amied at young lads, a point clearly illustrated by this delightful advertisement.

This image illustrates a Standard Fireworks poster from the 1930s. The designs were always colourful and eye-catching and Standard maintaind this progessive box design well into the 1980s! It became the hallmark of a great British fireworks company

Throughout the 1970s, Standard Fireworks dominated the UK market and utilised some very characteristic advertising with strong ‘youth appeal’. This image is typical of the kind of advertisement appearing in comics throughout the late 60s and early 70s.

This picture shows a very representative selection from Standard Fireworks 1980s range, including classics such as ‘Parachute Floating Light’, ‘Air Bomb Repeater’ and ‘Rising Sun’.
Note the classic and fondly remembered ‘blue touchpaper’ – now a thing of the past.


In 1698 John Brock Founded Brocks Fireworks in Islington, London it is one of the oldest firework manufacturers in the UK

Around 1825 Brocks main manufacturing factory was located in Bakers Row a residential Area in (now Vallance Road ) Whitechapel, London.

The Factory was destroyed by a young boy who was ramming gunpowder into a firework which created a spark and ignited it the shock of this happening made the boy throw the firework and run, the firework then exploded along with fifty pounds of gunpowder and a vast amount of saltpetre.

It blew the roof off the factory and set the rest of the building alight, the shockwave from the blast also shattered all the windows of buildings in the adjacent streets.

In 1868 Brocks build a New Firework Factory located in Nunhead, South-East London it was known as C. T. Brock & Co (Crystal Palace) Fireworks, this is not far from where the Pyrotechnists Arms still exists today.

Standard Fireworks bought Brocks fireworks in 1987 and in 1998 they were bought out by Black Cat Fireworks.

A group of Brock’s Factory Workers 1930