“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.” It was a statement attributed to British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey at the outbreak of the First World War, and the words resonated around the country and the world.
As part of the commemorations marking the centenary of Britain declaring war on Germany at 11pm on August 4, 1914 lights will be switched off across the nation.
In York, the lights will go out at the Mansion House, the Guildhall and the council’s West Offices and Hazel Court from 10pm to 11pm on Monday, August 4.
Millions of people are expected to participate in the Lights Out project, which invites everyone in the UK to turn off their lights from 10pm to 11pm, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection.
York Minster is another building taking part. It is also hosting a special service and vigil on Monday evening.
In York, the lantern in the tower of All Saints Pavement will be lit at 10pm.
Known as the Lantern Church, it is the Guild and Civic Church of York as well as the regimental church of the Royal Dragoon Guards. All Saints’ tower light will help mark York’s remembrance.
Elsewhere in the city a Sunset Service will take place at 8pm to 8.30pm on 4 August at the Railway Cenotaph, Station Rise.
The service will be led by the Revd Dr Stephen Sorby, Railway and British Transport Police Chaplain. Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony, which will see the 100th Anniversary Candle lit.
There is also a Candlelit Service at St Martin-le-Grand, Coney Street at 10pm where, in common with other churches and led by Westminster, St Martin’s will be commemorating the moment that Britain joined the First World War with a special vigil service.
The service will include music, poetry, readings and reflection.
“The outbreak of the First World War was a major event in history and would change the world forever,” said Councillor James Alexander, leader of City of York Council.
“Everyone was affected by the huge number of men and women who lost their lives during the four years of the war.
“World War One will be marked by local organisations and residents alike and I would encourage people to join me at the Railway Cenotaph or one of the other events in York.
“It is important that we remember those who sacrificed so much.”