Lights Out hour touches the nation

Caistor Lights Out EMN-140608-110303001
Caistor Lights Out EMN-140608-110303001

The National Grid’s analysts estimate more than three million households took part in Monday’s ‘Lights Out’.

People across the UK took part in the event from 10pm to 11pm yesterday to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

In one of the most dramatic UK-wide events ever organised, the public were invited to turn off their lights, leaving on a single candle or light source for a shared moment of reflection

Light Out was organised by 14-18 NOW, the official cultural programme for the First World War Centenary Commemorations.

The inspiration came from a famous remark made on the eve of the outbreak of war by the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”.

Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm on August 4, 1914, ushering in one of the darkest periods in our history.

“I would like to thank all those who took part in LIGHTS OUT across the UK and helped to make it such a moving and fitting tribute to those who gave their lives in WW1,” said Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW.

As well as the millions of people who took part at home, more than 1000 Lights Out events were registered across the UK and more than 46,000 tweets and images have been uploaded onto the 14-18 NOW website –

Event highlights included:

Lights were turned off at 10 Downing Street with a single candle left on the doorstep.

Buckingham Palace turned off all lights from 10pm to 11pm, with the exception of the lights in the Centre Room, directly behind the Royal balcony.

Piccadilly Circus paid tribute to Westminster’s fallen heroes by screening a World War One ‘roll of honour’ on the world-famous Piccadilly Lights between 10pm and 11pm.

A single light on Salisbury Plain illuminated Stonehenge.

In Killyleagh, Down, Northern Ireland, 244 Memorial Crosses were planted by relatives of those who served in the Great War. A candle of remembrance was lit at 8pm and extinguished at 11pm.

An image of a candle was projected onto the front of the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool, which burned down over the course of the hour 10pm to 11pm. Until midnight there were images of and infographics on the First World War, all of which were provided by The Colour Project.

The Bevis Marks Synagogue, City of London, held a unique and atmospheric candlelit Tisha B’av service (remembering the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple) at 8.50pm, followed by the ‘Lights Out’ ceremony between 10pm and 11pm.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe presented a special commemoration performance of Forgotten Voices, a play based on the Imperial War Museum’s oral testimonies of the veterans of World War One.

The BBC Late Night Prom on August 4 included a posthumous premiere from the late John Tavener. The audience at the Royal Albert Hall participated in Lights Out at the end of the performance. A full broadcast of the BBC Prom will be shown on the BBC this Sunday, August 10.