Home - click here

Cliffe Bonfire Society

Soldiers with tar barrel
Tar Barrel, 2006

Tar Barrel Custom

In the photo on the left a 'soldier' is seen holding the "tar barrel" which is thrown ablaze into the River Ouse from Cliffe Bridge during the second procession. It is carried using the pole which the 'crusader' in the photo is holding.

This action signifies the "Society's determination to maintain the true traditions of Bonfire" - so the programme says. It is a ceremonial act of law-breaking. In the nineteenth century the Bonfire Boys were often in trouble with the authorities over their behaviour, such as lighting their bonfires too close to property and endangering safety. Even in recent times there has been tension between the police and bonfire societies over arrangements for the night and the chief constable has been declared an 'Enemy of the Bonfire' and had his effigy paraded.

Originally a barrel covered in tar was set alight; today it is an elaborate firework, which first goes off before the whole barrel goes up in flames.



Tar Barrel being carried to Cliffe Bridge
Barrel Carried Aloft
The tar barrel ablaze just before it is thrown into the River Ouse
The Barrel Ablaze

<previous page / next page>


Go to Home Page About Us | Acknowledgements | Contact Us | My Back Pages | ©2006 Laganfauld