LIGHTS OUT as Winchester District commemorates the eve of WW1

Press Release: 16/07/2014

3D sculptural light installation, 'Box 459'

In a bid to commemorate the declaration of war in 1914, a dramatic UK-wide event called LIGHTS OUT will invite everyone to turn off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on Monday 4 August, leaving on a single light or candle to create a shared moment of reflection.

Part of the Imperial War Museum’s NOW 14-18 ‘LIGHTS OUT’ initiative, the event references a remark attributed to Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, on the eve of war in 1914:

 The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Winchester City Council’s Military Covenant, explained:

At 11pm on 4 August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany, ushering in one of the darkest periods in our history. For one hour, people are asked turn out their lights across the country, leaving on single light sources to mark the passing of 100 years since the official declaration of war in 1914. Winchester has strong military connections and the City Council has been working with a number of partners to mark this occasion fittingly. We would like to see broad engagement and urge parish councils, churches and residents to be involved.

Several local events are already confirmed. Winchester Cathedral will hold a lantern-lit vigil; Winchester Planetarium has had Civil Aviation Authority clearance to project a high intensity light beam onto the Science Centre; Jewry Street Art Café is inviting people to attend a candlelit sculptural exhibition showing the work of Robert Truscott and showing All Quiet on the Western Front; The Corner House restaurant is offering a themed commemorative dinner menu; and Winchester Area Tourist Guide Association is leading a guided walk to the Chesil Tunnel culminating in a two-minute silence lit by a single candle. Full listings are available at www.visitwinchester.co.uk

Winchester City Council has also commissioned a sculptural light installation, ‘Box 459’, based on a response from local architectural firm AR Design Studio, to mark the event. The box will be positioned at Winchester Cathedral close to the two war memorials already in the grounds. Andy Ramus, founder of the successful Winchester-based architectural firm, and Chair of the Royal Institute of British Architects in Hampshire, said:

As they form part of the 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions initiative, the LIGHTS OUT team at Imperial War Museums invited artists to create large-scale, site-specific artworks at locations across the UK. We responded to the brief by designing a steel light installation inspired by the 1921 inscription on Winchester Cathedral’s War memorial that recorded 459 fallen soldiers from the city area as defined during that period of governance. Box 459’s dimensions mark Armistice Day – it is a 1100mm engineered steel cube. An internal light source will project powerful shafts of light through 459 apertures representing the city’s lost generation from this era of history. A further 43 apertures will have coloured filters – these represent the fallen soldiers of Winchester District’s 43 parishes.

It is expected that LIGHTS OUT, working closely with the Royal British Legion, will be one of the largest participatory events of its kind ever seen in the UK, and will complement the candlelit vigil held at Westminster Abbey on 4 August.

LIGHTS OUT is commissioned by 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For more information on local participation see www.visitwinchester.co.uk For national listings please visit www.1418NOW.org.uk and sign up to the free mailing list. If you would like to register an event please visit www.1418now.org.uk/lights-out/register-your-moment If your event is a public event and you would like to publicise it please inform Ellen Simpson, Head of Tourism, at Winchester City Council esimpson@winchester.gov.uk tel 01962 848 219.

The box will be located at Winchester Cathedral close to the two war memorials already in the grounds from Monday 4 August

LIGHTS OUT