What would life be like without artificial light?

18th May 2016   |   Articles

Have you ever wondered how different modern life would be without the aid of artificial light? It is something we take for granted, but it wasn’t always this way for our ancestors hundreds of years ago. In the 18th century, light was scarce for most and used only when absolutely necessary, mainly because the fuel used to create light was also used for food – this left people with a tough choice between the two – eat or be in complete darkness.

in addition to this, open flames were a constant danger and were the catalyst for a number of large fires. All cooking fires had to be extinguished immediately after dinner, leaving most residents in complete darkness until the next morning.

There would have been no street lights in the Middle Ages either. Residents were ordered to stay in their homes after dark by the authorities. Most obliged ‘ the ones who didn’t were at high risk of causing serious injury/death by tripping over woodpiles and stones, or falling into a river. Thieves were also rife.

Modern Day Without Man-Made Light


Ever suffered a power cut or a blown bulb in your home? Only at this point do you realise how much you depend on artificial light. Everything becomes so much more difficult ‘ cooking, cleaning, relaxing, walking ‘ pretty much everything. It could do wonders for your sleep though as you’d be much more likely to go to bed early!


Curfews would likely be introduced due to health and safety concerns. No-one wants to end up in a river.


Say goodbye to computers. At best you might be able to revert to a typewriter. Either way, your job has just become a lot more manual. On the plus side, working hours would likely be reduced so every cloud has a silver lining!

Social Activities (Restaurants, pubs, theatres etc)

Socialising would become a lot more difficult. Cancel any midweek plans and rearrange for the weekend as places such as these will be unlikely to function without light.


All night-time travel, whether that beplane, car, ferry etc., would have to be cancelled meaning you wouldn’t be able to complete that foreign get away ‘ at best, it would be a massively stunted journey.


Like playing sport after work under the floodlights? Well this would be a thing of the past. Goodbye fitness.


Yes you read that right! All your favourite programmes no longer exist. You’ll have to find another hobby.

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