GREENOCK TELEGRAPH AND CLYDE SHIPPING GAZETTE
WEDNESDAY 27 AUGUST 1884
FIREWORKS AT SHANDON
The expectation of witnessing a display of fireworks designed by Mr Pain, of Crystal Palace fame, and who had entrusted to him lately the illuminations which were a feature of the International Health Exhibition, London, and has presently in charge the pyrotechnics of the Forestry Exhibition at Edinburgh, took large numbers on board the Ivanhoe and other steamers chartered by Captain Williamson last night. These chartered steamers were not a few, the captain of the Ivanhoe having, in order to secure to all of his coast patrons an opportunity of seeing the latest novelties in fireworks, engaged ten other steamers. The evening, though slightly chilly,was calm and clear, and the scene in the Gareloch as the different steamers, with cabin windows, etc, all aglow, arrived and took up positions off the point of interest, was in itself worth going to see.
Suddenly there was fired from the bows of the Ivanhoe a rocket, which burst and dissolved in a cloud of coloured stars, and before the light of these had died away the loch was brilliantly illuminated by a changing-coloured light on same steamer. This was but the signal to open the programme, and soon on the pier, on the rising ground above, and even on the water, were displayed a series of effects which almost defy description. The novelty of the devices and set pieces was most striking, and these called forth many expressions of admiration from the spectators. The rockets, shells, Roman candles, and other serial feu d’artifice, were superior to any we have seen in the West of Scotland. While there was much of grandeur in many of the devices, such as that of ‘the Falls of Niagara’, great beauty was the feature of others, and among the latter might be noticed ‘the Bombardment of Alexandria’, a triumph of pyrotechnic skill. The device of the ‘pigeon cotes’, where fiery birds flew to and fro, was a most ingenious piece of workmanship. The illumination of the woods by vari-coloured fires was a grand effect, and raised the admiration of the spectators to the highest pitch. The element of amusement was not wanting in the programme, and was seen in the erratic movements of the aquatic fireworks and the funny performances of ‘Jumbo’s’ trunk and tail, between which by the bye it was rather hard to distinguish. The set wheels and stars were very large and beautiful, and reflected much credit on Mr Pain, their designer. A discharge of rockets, forming a bouquet of many-coloured flowers, was a magnificent finale to a most successful display.
Captain Williamson deserves unqualified praise for introducing so skilful a pyrotechnist to the West, and whose services should be in demand in the future. The Ivanhoe returned at 10.40 to Prince Pier. It is estimated that not fewer than seven or eight thousand witnessed the exhibition. It will be noticed from our advertising columns that a similar display will be given by the same artist on Thursday evening, under ‘Ivanhoe’ auspices, which will doubtless again attract a great rush of people.