Posted Friday 10 March 2023
The streets of Kingston will be illuminated with lamp and candle lights this weekend thanks to an idea by a Kingston University student inspired by its candle-making history.
The candlelight procession, which takes place on Sunday 12 March, has been organised by Kingston University students and local not-for-profit organisation The Community Brain. It was born out of a research project by MA architecture student, Farah Anwar.
As part of a project for her course, Farah was looking into myths, fairy tales, and folklore and how they can unite a town and encourage urban regeneration. While researching Kingston’s history and archives, she discovered the borough’s folklore heritage and candle-making industry and the site of the former candle-making factory, where the Royal Mail Depot is located in Hogsmill Lane.
Fascinated by the candle-making heritage, Farah created her own legend about the Kingston lamplighter, who would walk daily around the town lighting all the streetlights.
Robin Hutchinson, founder of The Community Brain, further built on this and the story about the Kingston lamplighter will be recited at the start of the procession, which will follow the route that the candle makers would take starting at 5pm from Hogsmill Lane and end at Kingston Market Place.
“This procession is celebrating Kingston’s candle industry, encouraging the community to honour the history of the town,” Farah said. “I think light is a beautiful element and walking at dusk with the lanterns could be quite a magical experience.”
The light procession will culminate with the construction of a timber tower at Kingston Market Place. As it gets darker the tower, which will display all the lanterns created for the event, will get brighter, illuminating and adding to the ambiance of the square. The tower is being built by MA architecture students, who worked on the project with Farah.
“I’ve really enjoyed working as part of a group on delivering this event - as project manager of the procession I’ve gained lots of organisational and leadership skills which will be hugely beneficial for my future career,” she said.
Mr Hutchinson praised Farah’s idea to incorporate the borough’s heritage into an inspirational event that the Kingston community could come together to take part in. “Farah’s suggestion of a procession and the legend of Kingston’s lamplight was especially inspiring and something we simply had to make happen.”
The Light Procession is free and open to all Kingston borough community, Kingston University students, and members of staff, with no need to register. The lanterns for the festival were created by the Kingston Community during the Seething Wells festival and with the help of the students from the St. Johns Church of England Primary School.
Kingston University has worked with The Community Brain since 2015 on a wide range of projects and ideas in the borough of Kingston upon Thames and beyond.