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Gunpowder Plot field trip spoiled by thief

Hard lesson: primary school students outside the Gunpowder Tavern in St George’s with historical replicas that were removed this week in during an education re-enactment (Photograph supplied)

A children’s re-enactment of the historic Gunpowder Plot of 1775 has been hit this week with its own case of missing gunpowder.Now charities involved in the education field trip for primary school students have pleaded for the return of the historical props.Becky Ausenda, executive director of the Bermuda Education Network, balked at saying the three antique-style replica barrels, which belong to the Carter House museum in St David’s, had been stolen.“All we know is that we were away from them for 15 minutes and when we got back, they were gone from outside the Gunpowder Tavern,” Ms Ausenda said. “They are expensive replicas and we are pleading for their return.”BEN collaborated with the St George’s Foundation, the Bermuda National Trust and the St David’s Island Historical Society for the Gunpowder Plot field trip in St George’s.Students from P5 at nearly a dozen primary schools take part in BEN’s Horizons Programme series, which takes them on a variety of out-of-class expeditions.For three days this week, the nine-year-old students learnt about the night of August 14, 1775, when Bermudians sympathetic to the North American Revolution robbed the British Army gunpowder magazine in St George’s and delivered its casks to rebel ships waiting off Tobacco Bay.Students were taken to historic locations in the Olde Towne where the plot was hatched, then to the old magazine where the replica casks were brought out.Finally they carried the more than 100 barrels of gunpowder over the hill to Tobacco Bay — in the form of balloons, which would explode if dropped, much like the explosive kegs.But when Wednesday’s group, from Somerset and West End Primary schools, returned to the Gunpowder Tavern, the replica barrels had disappeared.Ms Ausenda said: “The children were sad that they had been taken. We managed to use a couple of Gosling’s wine barrels for the final expedition the next day. It could cost us $500 to replace them.“We would really appreciate it if whoever has them could return them, or just drop them off at the St George’s Foundation.”• To arrange the return of the barrels, contact the St George’s Foundation at 297-8043, or the St David’s Island Historical Society at 293-5960