Great to see the village lights working again – much better than last year! Mysterious sightings of pigs notwithstanding, the whole day was full of music, events, food and drink. Really good effort. My range of fabric bags will be available any day now…
These lights could be from any town anywhere in the UK. I really hope the lovely strings of Christmas bulbs are back up and running next year. I wonder what would have happened if Skanska had not won the contract to update all the street lamps. Would we have no Christmas lights, or would someone have found a way to repair the existing ones?
Councillor Kevin Bonavia responded to my enquiry about whether Blackheath’s traditional festoons will be lit up this year (they won’t):
The Guide is correct in saying that Skanska will be putting up white lights on lamp posts for this year’s Christmas season. This is meant as a temporary alternative to the traditional suspended lights across the Village, because there are a number of maintenance concerns relating to the existing lights, which frustratingly are unlikely to be resolved in good time for this year’s season.
To give you some background, unlike the Christmas lights in other parts of Lewisham Borough, the existing lights in Blackheath are not operated by the Council, but were acquired some years ago by a consortium of local businesses and had been paid for by local businesses, public donations and financial assistance from Lewisham Council.
Throughout the past year, we have been working to assist the operator of the existing lights to try to ensure that all of the existing lights could be switched on this year (including those across the roads). Unfortunately it looks as if the lights might be beyond economic repair.
Until recently, we were faced with the real risk that there would be no lights at all, but on examining the terms of Lewisham Council’s new long-term agreement with Skanska (who as you may know are currently replacing all street lamps across the Borough), it became clear that Skanska would be responsible for putting up and maintaining any temporary lighting as provided by the Council. In the short term, the Council’s own lighting budget has allowed for the lamp-post lights for this year.
As for the long term, we hope to make a funding proposal to the next Blackheath Assembly on 14 January (along with proposals for other community projects) so that the future of Blackheath’s Christmas lights can be put on a permanently viable footing.
As for this year, I hope the weather is kind for the switch-on: 4.30 pm on Saturday 7th December. Whilst on Christmas related events, Age Exchange are doing an open day on Thursday 5th December(10 am – 4 pm) which I understand involves switching on some Christmas lights as well, and there’s the traditional Christmas Eve nativity procession from St Mary’s Church to All Saints Church with carols on the heath, kicking off at 4 pm.
At 4.30pm today the Blackheath Lights will be switched on. Nick Ferrari, the quietly-spoken socialist will be doing the honours. Shops are staying open later, The Samaritans are carol singing, and the Salvation Army will be playing from 3pm.
Before and after image from the lights switch-on back in 2008, when I had more time to write this blog (apologies for the lack of updates lately- work is busy).
Blackheath’s Christmas lights will be switched on at 4.30pm today. Father Nicholas Cranfield of All Saint’s Church, the Mayor of Greenwich Councillor Jim Gillman, and the Deputy Mayor of Lewisham Alan Smith will do the switching on.
The Salvation Army will play live music from 3pm.
There’s also a children’s funfair on the heath near All Saint’s Church all weekend.
After the testing a couple of weeks back, and two countdowns, the Blackheath Christmas Lights are finally on. Not Nick Ferrari this time – someone called Kevin who I didn’t recognise (although apparently he’s famous?)Kevin Bridges, and a fairly gloomy theological analysis from Father Nick, the Christmas Lights finally switched on.
It’s amazing how many people show up in the village to watch some bulbs (LEDs) switch on. In this age of high definition 3D entertainment, you’d think it would get overlooked (Mrs Bugle says it’s a very European phenomenon).
Anyway, they look lovely. The lights over the chipshop parade seemed to be forgotten about, but came on shortly afterwards. The (rather blurry) photos show before and after, but aren’t taken from exactly the same perspective, unfortunately. The Salvation Army were also parping away in a jolly fashion – audio is below.
He was joined by local councillors from Greenwich and Lewisham, and a local vicar. Earlier there had been a brass band playing Christmas Carols (provided by the Salvation Army), followed by a procession of church goers, who actually sang beautifully, despite looking rather scary in their black robes…
And if the animated snow and flickering images are driving you nuts, let me know and I’ll change them!
Merry Christmas (almost). Now, where’s that mulled wine?