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Britain Since the 1930s

by Mandy Barrow
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The Blackout

Black out posterWhen did The Blackout begin?

Britain was blacked out on 1st September 1939, two days before the outbreak of war.

What was The Blackout?

During the war, everyone had to cover their windows and doors at night (before sunset) with heavy blackout curtains, cardboard or paint.

Why did people have to cover their windows and doors?

They needed to prevent any glimmer of light from escaping and aiding enemy aircraft during their bombing raids.

What about other sources of light during the blackout. Were they covered too?

Street lights were switched off or dimmed and shielded to deflect their light downward. Traffic lights and vehicle headlights were fitted with slotted covers to deflect their beam down to the floor.
See picture

Back to the topWhat effect did the Blackout have on people's lives ?

Thousands of people died in road accidents. The number of road accidents increased because of the lack of street lighting and the dimmed traffic lights. To help prevent accidents white stripes were painted on the roads and on lamp-posts. People were encouraged to walk facing the traffic and men were advised to leave their shirt-tails hanging out so that they could be seen by cars with dimmed headlights.

Other people were injured during the Blackout because they could not see in the darkness. Many people were injured tripping up, falling down steps, or bumping into things.

Accidents were common during the blackout

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Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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