The Gunpowder Plot and other near-misses

The Gunpowder Plot and other near-misses

Guy Fawkes and his accomplices.

Guy Fawkes, otherwise known as Guido, was a conspirator famously caught attempting to light gunpowder underneath the Houses of Parliament on November 5 1605.

This was an attempt to assassinate protestant King James I and replace him with a Catholic ruler.

The plot failed and Fawkes was arrested after one of his accomplices wrote to the King informing him of the plot.

Fawkes was tortured and eventually executed on January 31 1606.

Dr Ruth Larsen, Senior Lecturer in history at the University of Derby, said,

“One of the main implications if they had succeeded in removing the monarch from the throne, would have been issues with succession.

That is one of the big concerns as James I was newly on the throne and there had been debate about the successor of Elizabeth I.

The second issue is whether it would have led to greater anti-Catholic feeling.

There are some people who suggest that it would have led to a revolution in Parliament and how it worked which may have either led to a speeding up of the English Civil war or we may not have needed a Civil War at all.

None of these things are what Guy Fawkes and his team wanted – they wanted the throne to be Catholic – but I expect that wouldn’t have happened even if he had been successful.”

Take a look at the video below to see more historical near-misses.

Not every near-miss is famously reported.

On September 11 2001, Greer Epstein, Executive Director at Morgan Stanley, left her office on the 67thfloor of the World Trade Centre for a cigarette break after receiving a phone call asking to discuss a future work meeting.

The lift jolted, however she did not raise suspicion as it was faulty on a regular basis.

As Greer entered the smoking shelter, she noticed bundles of paper and office files falling by her feet.

She looked up and noticed a plane flying into the 67thfloor office that she was in five minutes prior.

Going for a cigarette saved her life.

Here are some other heart-thumping examples.

By Alex Hardy, Becky Tombs, Emily McIlroy and Nikolina Cetinic