|A lamp post at Mallaig, Scotland|
These two projects, the Luci per la Città Exhibition and the International Website, have been created as a tribute to Guido Chiarelli (1902-1982), on the 120th anniversary of his birth. Chiarelli is hailed as the man who transformed Torino into a "Ville Lumière" by illuminating the city streets with his futuristic designs in the 1950s and 1960s.
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I wish to thank Lidia very much for inviting me to supply a written contribution for the international Luci per la Città website. You can read my poem, 'Stars in Suburbia', here.
I was born in London and spent the first couple of years of my life in the capital, before moving out with my family to Kent's 'commuter-land'. Our road began at the foot of a slope near the railway station. The public library was situated near the top, where our road joined the High Street at right angles. We lived at the halfway point, neither up nor down.
My bedroom window looked out onto the road where a lamp post (like the one in my picture here) sent its beams into the night sky. Looking back, it seems hard to believe that we still had a gas lamp, requiring the occasional services of a lamplighter; but I have looked into this, and am assured by those who know these things that my memory is indeed correct.
Unlike Leerie in the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, which I came to love, our lamplighter would not have had to make daily visits as the lamps had become partially mechanised by my the time of my 1960s childhood. But they would have required winding at regular intervals. The image of the lamp post also reminds me of the one in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis where Lucy Pevensie first caught sight of Mr Tumnus the faun.
I have not had the opportunity of visiting Torino, but David and I lived in Rome from 1985 to 1986. How well I remember the beautiful lights around Spagna and Piazza Navona in the run-up to Christmas. I can still smell the scent of hot chestnuts and pizza rustica. I even remember the sparkle of snow!
P.S. I couldn't resist including images of two of my favourite UK lamp posts, the top one in Mallaig on the Scottish mainland, where one can catch a ferry to Skye, and the one below from Lyme Regis, designed in the shape of an ammonite.
|Ammonite-style lamp post, Lyme Regis, UK|