A look at the orientisation of the

British Firework Industry in the 1990's

the story is told by photos from consumer firework catalogues.

- or any excuse to look at photos of consumer fireworks!

A Steve Johnson Cyber Heritage site, bringing to you the rare and different.




"Light up the sky with Standard Fireworks".....a theme of an advertising slogan known to generations.


My name is Steve Johnson and I live in Plymouth, England. I love fireworks and collect firework catalouges. Over the last few years it has been easy to see via these catalouges that the onslaught of eastern consumer fireworks that once started as a trickle, would soon prove to be unstoppable. To me fireworks are an emotional reminder of my youth, of my son growing up, and also amazing good fun to this day. Until about 1990-1, most shop bought consumer fireworks in Britain were British. Benwell having gone a few years before, Pains being mail order display goods, and names like Lion, Wessex, Wilders and Rainbow fireworks being lost to us years before.

But that still left us..and ME especially !!! with the dependable well known familiar names of Astra, Brocks, and Standard fireworks. Within this web page are the images that show the invasion that came..I hope you like the photos, it seems that consumer firework photos are a little thin on the web. The problem is " how can you get angry with the eastern firework manufacturers when their product is so good...and so cheap?"


Firstly we`ll start by looking at the outside of the front covers of the Brocks 1992........1993.........1994 catalouge, does`nt a lot happen in two years! Let`s look at the last of the product made in Sanquar, Scotland, before Brocks fully moved in with Standard. My son used to love the " one with the bees...buzzzzzzzzzzzz..."....even to this day the memory stays clear, there is a photo of it among this lot....1...........2.......3......4.......5.......6.......7.......8

And then it`s all change....the east is in. Look at what had happened in two years. ...1...2....3.....4.....5

The eastern firework material has moved in in style. Notice I do not say CHINESE, as alot of it is Malaysian.


We`ll have a look now at Astra. Now when my son was young we always tried to get some Astra in to add a little variety. Down here in the west of England it was hard to get a good Astra firework selection. It is even harder now for in the year that their 50th annniversary catalouge came out, they ceased to trade. The images on this page will show the nice design of their brochures and the easternisation of their firework products. Here are the catalouge covers first 1992......1994.....1995.....1996.......1997 the 50th Anniversary Year

The images here are when there was still a little British firework content, but most was made under Astra direct control in Malaysia and merely wrapped/finished in the U.K. 1.........2........3........4........

However it was not soon before the change was complete; as you can see here. 1....2.....3....4.....5.....6.....7.....8...9.....10......


Then last, but not least is Standard. The Standard Fireworks brochure of 1991 was the one representing and celebrating their centenary year of 100 years in buisiness. The other specimens in this gallery are: 1992........1993.........1994.............1995..............1996
Around about these times the getting into bed of Brocks Fireworks and Standard Fireworks became complete, and you would have been hard pressed to find any Brocks fireworks made in Sanquar, Scotland...most coming from the Standard Fireworks stable at Huddersfield...even though Brocks was still an obviously different product. This picture here illustrates a Brocks/Standard mix that was on sale in a local newsagent chain.

Standard`s 1996 catalouge shows us both ends of what has happened. Traditional British fountains on one page, and while on another page Standard Fireworks announce their"Oriental Range"....eastern in every way.
The mix of oriental and British firework range can be seen in these catalouge photographs. 1..........2..........3............4................5..............6.............7............. 8
Interestingly enough the actual pyro content in the otherwise "British" fireworks as seen in many ot the items in photos 4 and 7 above are from the orient!!


If you have liked these photographs I am very happy. Perhaps you may like me to e-mail you a better quality jpeg for your collection, no problem. If you have unwanted firework catalouges, boxes, posters, fired/dead/inert/"toasted" items.....e-mail me and I`ll pay the shipping for you to post them to me. They do not have to be old, or collectable, but just something I would not have seen in England. Any material from Asia, Europe, U.S.A., Eastern Europe, anywhere will be welcome. Especially fired items such as planes, cars, tanks, parachute bits and bobs.......you name it, I`ll like it!!
If you remember these brochures, what did you do with your copy......in the bin I bet. Next time keep them and do your bit to preserve our pyro heritage. All of what you have seen on this page is now ....HISTORY!!!

e-mail Steve

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