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Remember, Remember, the fifth of November

An official search of the Palace of Westminster's cellars takes place every year before the State Opening, as a reminder of the Gunpowder Plot of November 1605.  This event has left traces in the archives.  In 1682 Sir Christopher Wren was ordered  "forthwith to cleer and cause to be cleered the Sellars & vaultes under and neer adjoyning the house of Peers, Painted Chamber & Court of Requests of all Timber, firewood, coales & other materialls of what kind soever and that passages be made throughout... & hightes be opened where they may that Gardes may passe throughout the day or night". [Parliamentary Archives, LGC/5/1/23 fol. 74]

This extract from the Lord Great Chamberlain's minute book records the  arrangements in 1837 for the traditional searching of the vaults before the State Opening.



Minute Book from the reign of Queen Victoria



Catalogue number

Parliamentary Archives, LGC/3/6 fol. 35