Whilst it is generally well known that blackout happened during the Second World War it is little known that blackout was introduced during the Great War. The bi-planes early in the war were little threat, but the German Zeppelins posed a real threat of bombing raids.
These articles from the Herts and Essex Observer in January 1917 give a snapshot of the continued importance of blackout and how it was a job for policemen on the beat to follow up these infringements.
The words are as found in the articles.
Forgot to cover the window
“George Hayes, 36, Maltser, of Oak Street, Bishop’s Stortford, was summoned for permitting a breach of the Lighting order on December 21st. PC Springett said he was on duty in Bartholomew Road about 6.45 p.m. on this day, when he noticed an illumination in the direction of Oak Street. On proceeding there he found that a light was coming from the window of defendant’s house, the blind of which was not sufficiently thick or dark to prevent the light from escaping. He pointed it out to the defendant, who said he had forgotten to put the covering over the window. Defendant expressed regret and said he had a brother-in-law home from France and he forgot about covering the window. A fine of 5 shillings was imposed.”
An unfortunate coincidence
“Mrs Mary Ann Pegram, 74, of Nursery Road, was summoned for an offence under the Lighting Order in respect to her dwelling house. PC Springett said that about 7 p.m. on December 21st he was on duty in Nursery Road when he saw a light shining from the window of defendant’s house, and also from a glass panel in the door. There was no blind at the window and the panel was not obscured and he could see a candle burning in the room in which defendant was working. He called her attention to the fact and defendant said she had only been in the room a few minutes, and as she very seldom used it she had not taken the trouble to draw the blind. Defendant said she had only been in the room a few minutes and the policeman happened to be passing at the time. The Chairman said if Defendant would promise to be more careful in the future they would only fine her 2s 6d”
A Policeman saw it
“Mr Robert Markham, Landlord of the Boar’s Head, High Street, Bishop’s Stortford, was summoned for a similar offence. He did not appear. PC Springett deposed that at 6.25 on December 26th he was on duty near the Corn Exchange when he saw a light in the direction of the Boar’s Head. He proceeded there and found it came from the top half of an unused side door, which had no covering over it. A letter was read from defendant’s wife in which she said that somebody had gone into the room and lighted the gas, and she did not know anything about it. A fine of £1 was imposed, a previous conviction for a similar offence being recorded.”
The blind was up
“Mr Reuben Archer, optician, of North Cottage, Hadham Road Bishop’s Stortford, was summoned for a similar offence. – PC Davies said that on December 27th he was on duty in Hadham Road, about 6.40 p.m. when he saw a light coming from an unscreened window of defendant’s house. He saw defendant, who said that it had been forgotten to pull the blind down. Fined 10 shillings.”
A Friend’s visit
“Mr Walter E. Cornell, of Warwick Road was also summoned for a like offence . PC Bennett stated that on December 29th, about 6.55, he was on duty in Warwick Road when he saw a bright light coming from a bedroom window of defendant’s house. Defendant expressed regret and said that he had a friend at his house and the particular room had not been used for some time. A fine of 10 shillings was imposed.”