Putting 'Lights Out' To Mark WW1 Centenary

Public invited to light a candle to remember the outbreak of war

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Everyone in the UK is invited to take part in LIGHTS OUT by turning off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on 4 August.

People are being asked to leave on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection to mark the centenary of the outbreak of war in the UK. You can take part in whatever way you choose, either at home or by going out to experience LIGHTS OUT in your local area.

The project is being organised by 14-18 NOW, the official cultural programme for the First World War Centenary Commemorations.

The inspiration for LIGHTS OUT comes 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 4 August 1914, ushering in one of the darkest periods in our history.

The centenary will be marked by a series of events and services across the UK throughout 4th August which the public are invited to attend and take part in. These are as varied as: the motorbike community of Portsmouth gathering at the Viewpoint, shining hundreds of headlights across the city; a service at Bevis Marks Synagogue, the oldest Synagogue in London; a projection of the night sky as it was on 3 August 1914 at Birmingham’s Thinktank Planetarium; a torch-lit procession at the Bowes Museum in Teesdale; and a candlelit Vigil at a replica WW1 trench Newtonabbey. In Piccadilly Circus, a “roll of honour” will be screened on the world-famous Piccadilly Lights, commemorating over 2,000 residents from Westminster who fought and died in the First World War.

Thousands of iconic buildings, landmarks and institutions across the UK are pledging their support and turning their lights off at 10pm that night. These include Blackpool Illuminations, the Houses of Parliament, the Tate, Eden Project, the Imperial War Museums, Wales Millennium Centre, Tower Bridge, Durham Cathedral, Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Old Trafford, Lincoln Castle and the National History Museum. Across the City of London a number of buildings and offices will go dark, including Bloomberg's European headquarters and St Pauls’ Cathedral.

British Embassies and High Commissions around the world will take part in LIGHTS OUT by lighting a candle at 11pm local time and posting pictures of their candles on Twitter. In this way, the image of the lit candle will travel around the world.

A BBC Late Night Prom will include a posthumous premiere from the late John Tavener, and the audience at the Royal Albert Hall will be invited to participate in LIGHTS OUT at the end of the performance. The Royal British Legion is supporting LIGHTS OUT and has launched a campaign for at least one million candles to be lit across the UK.

Other organisations supporting LIGHTS OUT include the Football Association, Women’s Institute, Marks & Spencer, Lancashire County Cricket Club, Home Office and the British Library.

Four leading international artists have been commission by 14-18 NOW to create striking public artworks in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, as LIGHTS OUT focal points for each of the UK’s four nations. Each work takes the extinguishing of electric light and lighting of candles as a point of departure: Bombay-based artist Nalini Malani will present a large-scale video projection across the entire Western and Southern façades of the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh, commissioned with the Edinburgh Art Festival; Welsh artist Bedwyr William’s work will take the form of a large-scale light and sound installation presented at the site of the WW1 North Wales Memorial Arch in Bangor, commissioned with Artes Mundi; leading artist Bob and Roberta Smith’s new large-scale work at Belfast City Hall using thousands of candles will be created by a range of community based groups in Belfast, produced by Factotum. Across London a special project will be revealed on the night of 4th August.

Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller has created an original LIGHTS OUT artwork in the form of an app which is available for the public to download for free.

LIGHTS OUT complements the candlelit vigil service to be held in Westminster Abbey from 10pm to 11pm on 4th August.

The BBC will be including Lights Out as part of their World War One coverage on 4th August.

The 14-18 NOW programme is funded by £10 million granted from the National Lottery including The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Arts Council England (ACE) which are contributing £5million each.

For details about LIGHTS OUT in your area, to see a full list of supporters, and to view the interactive map of events across the UK please go to:


July 30, 2014