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Outdoor Lighting, Home Lighting

Updated on July 13, 2013

Outdoor Lighting, Home Lighting

Back in 1879 an estimated 70,000 people converged on Blackpool to witness the switching on of the UK's first electric street lights.

Some 133 years later the Blackpool Illuminations continue to draw visitors from all over the country and beyond. Over one million bulbs light up some six miles of promenade for a little over two months every autumn season. Each year the switching on ceremony is performed by a well-known celebrity. Over the years this has included such diverse and interesting personages as Sir Stanley Matthews, George Formby, Dale Winton, Kermit the Frog, Red Rum and the cast of Dad's Army.

Blackpool Tower
Blackpool Tower

At centre stage and at the heart of it all stands Blackpool Tower, which itself is liberally adorned with thousands of bulbs of various shapes and sizes.

In this environmentally conscious age it was perhaps inevitable that the Illuminations would adopt low voltage neon lamps and wind turbines in an attempt to save energy, something the display has now been doing successfully for several years. LED lighting is now used for over 30% of the display and as old stock is replaced this percentage figure is progressively increasing. The procurement of green electricity has meant the annual emissions of carbon dioxide are now zero, a saving of some 420 tonnes per year.

Blackpool is probably one of the best examples of what can be achieved with lighting for display and decorative purposes. But at the other end of the scale the more modest requirements of the home are for something functional, whilst still aesthetically pleasing.

Just as the audacious display that is the Blackpool Illuminations has taken great strides towards environmental sustainability, so too has conventional and everyday home lighting with the move towards energy saving light bulbs and LED technology.

Home lighting can be illuminating too

Although the scale is infinitely smaller, in its own way home lighting can be every bit as ornate and emphatic as the bulbs that combine to create the biggest light shows. Look for example at this chandelier lighting, this incredible 24-light swan-style piece in a polished chrome finish.

Whether the intention is to light up six miles of promenade along the Blackpool seafront or a living room or lounge in a modest semi in Surbiton, it is the impression created at the moment of switching on that lingers with us. It is the transformation that is instantly made as darkness turns to light that is the essence and the magic of lighting.

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