The Air Ministry forecast that Britain would suffer night bombing attacks and on 1 September 1939, the country was plunged into darkness. Street lights were switched off at the mains and everyone had to cover their windows and doors at night with heavy blackout curtains, cardboard or paint. It was enforced by civilian ARP wardens who were unpopular due to the strict fines they imposed. The average fine was £2, worth £100 today. Some people just forgot or blamed others in the house.
For some it was more challenging – the Master of Shrodells Public Assistance Emergency Hospital in Watford found it difficult to make sure no light escaped due to the building having about ‘2000 windows’, a problem faced by all large institutions.