By the fall of that year, a group of angry Catholics decided to assassinate James by blowing up the king as he opened Parliament on November 5. To accomplish this task, the conspira- tors hid 36 barrels of gunpowder in the cellar of the House of Lords, one of Parliament’s two law-making bodies. Their plan was to explode the gunpow- der during the ceremony. Fortunately for the king and Par- liament, William Parker Lord Monteagle

First Professional Bomb Squad Unit

The first professional civilian bomb squad was established in England in 1874 when police led by Sir Vivian Dering Majendie investigated an ex- plosion that destroyed a bridge and several cages at the nearby London Zoo. Majendie wrote the first laws governing the control of explosives, and developed various techniques for handling and dismantling bombs.

received a mysterious letter warning him not to at- tend the gathering on the day of the king’s visit. Lord Monteagle informed the king’s officials of the letter. They sent Sir Thomas Knyvett and a group of men— history’s first bomb squad—to find the explosives. Knyvett and his team searched the rooms be- low Parliament. There they found gunpowder and a man named Guy Fawkes carrying fuses and a timer. Ever since that episode, bomb squads have played an important role in solving crimes and saving lives.


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