In the early days the Christmas Lights in Alnwick were put up by the 
Town Council until the cost became to much to bear. The Chamber of  
Trade then took up the task of erecting Christmas Lights in Alnwick,  
which consisted of a few strings of lights decorating the Christmas Tree    
in the Marketplace and the trees on the cobbles. In 1984 the cost had    
become too high for the Chamber of Trade and they declined to put any   
more up; therefore, Christmas 1984 saw Alnwick without any Christmas   
Lights and the Town looked dull and cheerless.
The following year, Melvyn Hornsby together with Alan Lawson and 
David Jackson, decided that they would put up some lights on behalf 
of the Chamber of Trade. The Market Traders decorated the trees on the 
cobbles, the tree in the Marketplace and strung lights from the flagpole 
of the Northumberland Hall. 
The next few years saw more lights in Alnwick, with some on the 
Hotspur Tower and more in the Marketplace. Funding came via a  
generous donation from the Town Council and extra labour came  
from the community. 
By the end of 1989 the job had become too big for the team and 
required professional help. Unfortunately, this again drove up the cost  
of the project beyond the resources of its supporters. 
By 1990 a new Christmas Lights Committee had been formed with
Melvyn Hornsby as Chairman, David Jackson as secretary and Ray
Farnsworth as treasurer.  Made up of volunteers from the local   
community, it quickly expanded the display of lights round Alnwick,    
achieving within a few years a remarkable display.
The new committee was, and remains, funded almost entirely by public subscription through 
various fund raising schemes, but the Town Council continues to make a substantial annual   
donation .The first item purchased was Santa and his Reindeers, which are still mounted on the   
top of the Hotspur Tower each year. Within a few years the team were using ropelight to
make their own displays, the first of which was The Snowman, who still waves to eveyone
every Christmas from the Northumberland Hall. As expertise increased, so did the range and
ingenuity of the displays, until now Alnwick has one of the most famous and original displays
of christmas lights in the country, attracting thousands of people. As a service to retailers we
also erect and dismantle rows of coloured bulbs round the entire town centre for Christmas,
with more than a mile of lights going up each year. The team of 15 local people are all 
volunteers, totally independent and unpaid. Preparations begin in May and reach a fairly 
frantic conclusion before the switch on in late November, one of the highlights of the town's
Our workshop has been in several places around Alnwick over the 
years. We started out originally in the shed behind the Plough Hotel
which was our home for many years. With more and more displays
been made each year we needed a bigger place. We then moved to an 
empty unit on an industrial estate where we stayed for 2 years. 
However, very quickly we had to move to a derelict site on Howick
Street where we stayed for a short time, followed by another move
to the old Maltings buildings opposite Morrisons, then onto our
current home. 
All funding for the Alnwick Christmas Lights is raised locally. Alnwick
Town Council has, from the earliest given a donation of £1000.00 
to the Alnwick Lights and still do so.
Other major contributors to the lights include Alnwick Roundtable
and the Alnwick Lions, with many local businesses, Clubs, Charities
and individuals providing generous support. 
A large raffle with prizes donated by local businesses is our largest
single source of finance.
We start work on repairing and constructing displays around the end
of April, meeting on Thursday evenings at about 7pm and continuing
every week throughout the rest of the year. We always have a long list
of requests for new diplays. Decisions on which displays we will 
constructed for the following year are made at our AGM and these new 
items are designed and constructed after all existing displays have been
It takes a minimum of 6 weeks to erect all displays and shop lights in
and around Alnwick. Most of the work is done on weekends, especially
Sundays, when traffiic is lightest. With Alnwick Town centre becoming
busier each year it takes longer to erect the lights. Because displays are
hung from high buildings and are suspended across roads where 
ladders are impossible to use, we hire an expensive hoist for which we
obtain sponsorship from local businesses.
The switch on of the Alnwick Christmas Lights is on a Friday evening,
1 calendar month before Christmas Day. A variety of events take place
in and around the Marketplace where the Lights are switched on. 
Alnwick is usually crowded with people packing into the centre of 
town waiting for the lights to come on. 
There is a fantastic atmosphere, and children, who have been busy at
schools around Alnwick making presents and stars, hang their gifts
on the Christmas Tree, accompanied by carol singers and music. 
After the lights are switched on Santa Claus pays a visit to the
Marketplace to meet children (thanks to theAlnwick Lions).
The lights remain on over Christmas and are switched off on the 12th
night, then taken down.
The Alnwick Christmas Lights are well supported by local residents.
We very much appreciate this, and look forward to their continued
support for many years to come.
The Alnwick Christmas Lights is a completely voluntary group of
individuals who give up their evenings and weekends to decorate the
town of Alnwick with Christmas Lights every year. The smiles on the
faces of the children and grown ups when the lights are switched on
makes it all worthwhile.