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Local History

Brocks Fireworks, formally known as Brocks Explosives Ltd, was a well-known manufacturer of fireworks, founded in London and subsequently based in Hemel Hempstead, Dumfriesshire and Norfolk.

The company was taken-over by its rival Standard Fireworks in 1988.

Brocks was founded in the early 18th century in Islington by John Brock and it is thought to have been the oldest British firework manufacturer.

In 1825 the factory was located in a residential area in Baker's Row, Whitechapel: it was blown up when a boy who was ramming gunpowder into a fire-cracker 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.

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


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