First World War centenary: ‘Lights Out’ in Camden, Barnet and Haringey to mark 100 years since Great War

Candlelight flickered in darkened homes across Camden, Barnet and Haringey on Monday night in a national “Lights Out” event - following evening vigils and commemorative services to mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.

Several Twitter users in Camden shared pictures of dimly lit houses online after residents nationwide were asked to turn off their lights and leave a candle burning for one hour until 11pm on Monday, the time war was declared in Britain exactly 100 years ago.

A handful of church services and civic ceremonies were held in the days leading up to Monday’s centenary, including a “solemn” choral evensong in Hampstead.

In Highgate, 14 candles were extinguished during a two-hour candlelit vigil at St Augustine’s Church, Archway Road, with the last one snuffed out at 11pm.

Prayers and readings were said on the night amid several silent pauses to remember the millions of lives lost during the Great War.


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Parish priest Fr Philip Goff said: “It was very moving. This was going to be the war to end all wars, and it wasn’t. It was good to step back and have some peace.”

On Sunday (August 3), Camden’s deputy mayor Cllr Larraine Revah joined more than 100 people at St John-at-Hampstead Church, Church Row, Hampstead, to hear a choral evensong of hymns written during the war period.

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A sermon by parish vicar the Rev Stephen Tucker reflected on lessons learnt from the war and the importance of remembering the war’s fallen soldiers a century on.

“It was solemn, and attentive. The music contributed to the special character of the occasion,” he said. “We said special prayers for those who had died, but also to remember the ongoing conflict in the Middle East now, conscious it dates back to the aftermath of the First World War.”

Barnet’s official commemoration ceremony saw readings from Martin Russell, representative Deputy Lt for Barnet, mayor Cllr Hugh Rayner and archdeacon of Hertford, Dr Trevor Jones, at St John the Baptist Church in Chipping Barnet on Sunday (August 3).

Representatives of Barnet’s twin towns Le Raincy in France, and Siegen-Wittgenstein and Tempelhof-Schöneberg in Germany, were among 250 people who attended the service.

A column of light projected from the Houses of Parliament lit up Monday’s night sky, causing several Twitter users in Hampstead, Primrose Hill and West Hampstead to share their snaps of the spectacle online.

The piercing spotlight is an art instalment by Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda, and was commissioned by 14-18 NOW (WW1 Centenary Art Commissions), which also organised the national “Lights Out” campaign.

It will appear in the skies every evening this week until Monday (August 11).

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