London faces the blackout

Molly Panter-Downes recorded vivid descriptions of life in Britain during the war for New Yorker magazine:

Coming out into the blackout these evenings is like falling into an inky well; the only lights are the changing green and red crosses of the masked traffic signals and the tiny flashing torches of pedestrians feeling their way like Braille readers around the murky puzzle of Piccadilly Circus. A hawker with a tray of torches does a roaring trade there these dark nights. So great has been the demand for batteries that spares are now unobtainable, and exasperated Londoners whose torches fail find that they either have to buy a complete new one or risk breaking a leg when they sally out of doors.

See Molly Panter-Downes: London War Notes 1939-1945 also available from and

Earlier in the war:

Later in the war: