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Arup proves massive explosive potential of Guy Fawkes

Arup has proved that Guy Fawkes would have killed everyone present in the House of Lords if he had managed to ignite his huge stash of gunpowder on November 5 1605, a television programme this evening will show.

The international engineering firm's team of explosives experts was employed by ITV to detonate 36 barrels of gunpowder under a full-sized replica of the original House of Lords in one of the biggest historical experiments ever shown on television.

The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding the Legend, will show that the enormous stash of explosives would have propelled the timber floor of the House of Lords upwards with such violence that King James I and everyone else in the chamber would have been killed.

Using 650 tonnes of concrete, the basement where the gunpowder was hidden was recreated by Arup with structural properties similar to the original building and the full Lords chamber built above. It was then packed with perishable cameras, sensors and crash test dummies to represent King James I and members of Parliament.

The results also showed that, contrary to previous claims, the blast would have been relatively contained, with the massive stone walls directing much of the pressure of the blast upwards. However, the debris from the roof and the chamber floor would have rained down in a 200m-wide radius of the blast.

David Hadden, Arup blast consultant, said after the successful explosion: 'The results from our computer simulation of the explosion were spectacularly confirmed by the astonishing strength of the blast.

'After years of speculation, the test has proved once and for all that Fawkes' plan would have had devastating consequences for anyone present in the House of Lords on that day, though not for the surrounding areas - as previously thought.

'We concluded that Fawkes could have killed everyone present with half the amount of explosives,' Haddon added.

The programme will be broadcast on 1 November at 9:45pm on ITV1.

by Ed Dorrell

Picture provided by ITV1

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