As Christmas lights have been switched on officially in various places across Cumbria, we have decided to look back at times to other Christmas lights switch on events in our county.

Carlisle's latest Christmas lights featured singer Chesney Hawkes, and Carlisle United manager Paul Simpson, and took place on Sunday, November 19, 2023.

As a tradition that seems to happen earlier in the year each year, it's got an extensive history behind it.

The origins of Christmas lights in the UK can be traced back to the Victorian era.

In the mid-19th century, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert popularized the Christmas tree tradition, candles were often used to decorate these evergreen symbols of the season.

However, the use of open flames posed significant fire hazards, prompting the need for safer alternatives.

In 1882, Edward Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison, created the first electrically illuminated Christmas tree in London.

This ground-breaking display marked the beginning of a new era, as electric lights gradually replaced candles in festive decorations.

While initially a luxury for the wealthy, the spread of electrification and mass production made Christmas lights more accessible to the general public by the early 20th century.

The tradition of outdoor Christmas lights gained momentum in the 20th century, with towns and cities across the UK embracing the festive glow.

The first public display is often credited to Regent Street in London, where in 1954, a stunning array of lights adorned the shopping district, captivating crowds and setting a trend that would spread nationwide.

Since then, the tradition has evolved, with communities competing to create the most dazzling and imaginative light displays.

Today, Christmas lights are not only a symbol of holiday cheer but also an opportunity for local councils, businesses, and individuals to showcase their creativity and community spirit.

As we anticipate the upcoming festive season, the twinkle of Christmas lights in the UK serves as a reminder of a rich history that continues to bring communities together in the shared joy of the holiday season.