Market Lavington is in rural Wiltshire. Many parts of the village have little or no lighting, but even so there is light, for virtually all houses emit some light. How different it must hqave been during World War II when houses were strictly blacked out to prevent any stray illumination from guiding enemy aircraft to potential targets.

But even then, some light was needed in some circumstances. Of course, use of road vehicles was discouraged since they used vital fuel needed for the military operations.  However, some drivers needed to drive and possibly – a doctor, perhaps – at night. Cars, vans, etc used for essential purposes had to be allowed to light the road in front of them but it was crucial that no light escaped upwards and that the brightness was kept down.

Enter the car headlight blackout shield, a metal addition to the front of a lamp which provided a hood to stop light going up, louvres to make sure any light was angled downwards and a translucent screen to make the lighting a great deal less.

Second World War hood to obscure the light from a car headlamp. This item can be seen at Market Lavington Museum

Driving with such limited lighting must have been extremely difficult but had to be accepted for safety’s sake.

Our headlamp shield was found in a garage at Hawthorns, Kings Road and is now on display at Market Lavington Museum.

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