Blackout in Essex

Owing to raids over southern England by Zeppelins and aero planes a blackout was ordered in relation to the lights in shops and houses.

Street lights were shaded by blacking the upper parts and then in 1916 mostly removed to help with the risk from German attack and the shortages of power.

In his book Hornchurch during the Great War, Charles Thomas Perfect comments. ' Our streets were dreary in the extreme and in the winter months absolutely dangerous on moonless nights. But to feel the real dreariness of unlit streets one had to go into towns, and our own neighbouring little market town of Romford lost all of its attractiveness in the all pervading gloom which settled down on it after sunset on a winter's night'


One lamp to be allowed in each shop window with each lamp restricted to 25 candle power.

Each lamp must be shaded or reflected onto goods displayed.

The window lights under no condition may show any appreciable light onto the pavement.

All window lights must be extinguished by 8pm.

Private residents

All blinds must be kept drawn and all bright lights screened

Garden fires were forbidden after sunset

Public Houses

In 1914  opening hours on public houses were 6am to 11pm on weekdays and1pm to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm on Sundays.

In the winter of 1914 public houses had to close by 10pm on weekdays and 9.30pm on Sundays and in the winter of 1915 opening hours were changed to 12 noon to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 9.30pm on weekdays and 1pm to 3pm and 6pm to 9pm on Sundays although they were able to be open from 6am to 10pm for food and non alcoholic drinks.

Daylight Saving

In May 1916 the Government Passed the Daylight Savings Act which put the clocks forward one hour at 2am on 20 March. This was re-inacted for every year of the war.

The objective was to save the number of hours when articfial lighting would be requeried in public places and in domestic homes.