diamond geezer

 Saturday, January 24, 2004

Here comes a candle to light you to bed

[Oranges and Lemons trivia: The City of London is divided into 25 wards for electoral and ceremonial purposes (map here). Both St Clements and St Martins lie inside the tiny ward of Candlewick (old map here, new map here, number of residents on the electoral roll - two). The ward is named after Candlewick Street, now much better known as Cannon Street.]

It's hard to imagine modern life without electric light. Flick a switch or walk out onto the street nowadays and the sun never sets. Go back just 200 years, however, and London was still lit only by candles and oil lamps. Richer folk lit their homes with candles made from beeswax or whale oil, whilst poorer folk had to make do with smelly, smoky tallow candles made from animal fat. In 1807 Pall Mall became the first street in the capital to be lit by gas, spreading to 213 streets by 1823, but indoors candlesticks and candelabra still ruled. In 1859 the Houses of Parliament were lit by gas for the first time and only then did gas lighting start to become fashionable inside the homes of London's wealthy. Electric light arrived on the streets in 1878, starting on Holborn Viaduct, but its use was not widespread indoors until after the First World War.

Today, London belches light out into the night sky. Street lamps, spotlights, illuminations, adverts, security lighting and three million houses, all contribute to the most severe light pollution in the UK, beaming light upwards where it isn't needed. This satellite photo (hi-res version here) taken from the International Space Station shows London lit up like a giant, luminous amoeba, with a dazzling central nucleus. The night sky over the capital has a dull orange glow and only a few of the brightest stars are ever visible - in fact the only star some London children will ever have seen is the Sun. And it's getting worse across the rest of the country too (check your region here) where sight of the Milky Way has become merely a distant memory. Join the campaign for better-designed street lighting and darker skies here. Maybe there was a lot to be said for candle-power after all.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream