The Candle Lantern

These days we are 100% used to having light at the flick of a switch. Market Lavington has had mains electricity for long enough that the days before electric light are now before living memory here. More remote places in Britain were still being connected, for the first time, much more recently and there are still many remote places that do not have the supply.

And that meant other forms of lighting. For centuries, the simple light was the candle but can you imagine the night time difficulties. Let’s imagine you need to get up to use the loo. In the pitch black you need to find candle and a method of lighting it. You have to struggle downstairs and out into the garden (for you had a privy at the bottom of your patch). You probably hoped for a clear sky and a moon to help you see your way for if it was dark, wild and windy your candle would get blown out.

No wonder people used the potty under the bed – the ‘gazunda’.

But even so a candle in a glass case was still needed on occasion and that’s what we are looking at today.

Victorian candle lantern at Market Lavington Museum

Victorian candle lantern at Market Lavington Museum

We have this rather elegant lantern hanging above the range in our kitchen. Sadly, as the photo shows, one of its glasses is cracked, but that hardly mattered for it still gave illumination and the candle flame was still protected from the ravages of the weather.

This item is Victorian – nineteenth century and came from a White Street house. Similar items could have been found in most households.

The observant will notice that, as well as having the handle for carrying or hanging the lamp, the base has four feet formed in it. This lantern was equally adept at standing on a surface.

What a delightful lamp it is.

 

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