Eddy Grant To Switch On Brixton's Electric Avenue Lights

By Zoe Craig Last edited 13 months ago

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Eddy Grant To Switch On Brixton's Electric Avenue Lights

Brixton's Electric Avenue has been renovated: the completion of the £1m scheme will be marked on 17 October with a special event.

Guyanese British musician Eddy Grant — who immortalised Brixton's Electric Avenue in 1983 with song of the same name — will switch on the street's new illuminated sign, marking the completion of the refurb works.

The song Electric Avenue was inspired by the 1981 Brixton riots, and was a hit both here and in the States.

Grant will switch on the Electric Avenue lights to close an afternoon and evening of celebrations on the street that day. If you can't be there in person, follow the hashtag #RockDownToElectricAvenue to get a flavour of the festivities.

Electric Avenue is so-called because it was the first market street to be lit by electricity.

Electric Avenue in 1910. Image from the ever-brilliant Brixton Buzz website.

In the 1880s, the area was the height of Victorian splendour; upmarket retailers could stay open longer, displaying their wares under bright lights; while to Victorian shoppers — more used to murky gas-lighting — the effect must have been extraordinary: like the first time you see the Oxford Street Christmas lights as a child.

Electric Avenue in 1895. By Frederick Rolfe (credited as "Baron Corvo")

Says Grant: "It’s a huge privilege to return to London, the city where I grew up, to be the guest of honour for switching on the lights at Electric Avenue — the street that has great cultural significance, not just for inspiring my song.

"The street has truly returned to its former glory and will be a great hub for the local community."

Go and see for yourself from 17 October.

Last Updated 07 October 2016