Image Gallery

 Set Pieces

The Celtic Cross was our Millennium project. It is located on St.Clements Island which is approx 500m off the coast of Mousehole. In 1999 we laid a Subsea power cable to the Island to power the Cross at 110Volts, since then we have upgraded the Cross using LED lighting and it is powered by batteries continuously charged by solar PV cells. It is controlled by a radio link which also allows us to monitor the battery level. Thanks go to Bolitho Estates who allow us to use the Island.


Santa has always been a favourite with the children. He once sat on the back of the 'New Quay' attached to railings, but a heavy storm in 1979 took Santa and his reindeer out to sea - still attached to the railings! Since then he has had several locations around the village, but the best has always been on top of the hillside waving goodbye as he leaves the village. Santa is no longer floodlit but now lit by rope light and the reindeer have animated legs.


The Noel was made in 1984 and has always been located on the Sunday school hall wall at St.Clements Methodist Church. Over the past few years we have experimented with different colours and even had it flashing in 1986, but decided that the annoyance to the neighbours was too great. The 2 crosses were later additions and they have always remained white.


The whale was built in 1989 and was scalled up from a fridge magnet! It is controlled by a complicated set of motorised cams operating micro switches and originally there were 42 switches to animate it fully. It winks, smiles and spurts water, the waves flash beneath it and prior to a rewire, it had a flipper that appeared and disappeared in time with the waves. It is now wired with low voltage lamps, but the original control circuit still exists. Very popular with young and old alike, but we nearly lost it on the very first year it was made. The night before switch on in 1989 a terrific storm wrecked most of the harbour displays, but fortunately for the whale it wasn't scheduled to be floated in the harbour until the following day, so missed the storm.


The Stocking was made in 1994, but it was several years in the planning. The original design and idea came from our Secretary in 1969 when she was aged 10 and going to Mousehole Primary School. It proudly takes "Pride of place" in the harbour and wears the traditional colours of Mousehole (Green and White).


The Snowman has appeared in several forms over the years. Originally built in 1983 and painted white it was lit by floodlights. A few years later it was repainted with reflective paint and trials began to light it using ultraviolet. This proved to be unsuccessful, as the colour didn't look right. In the early 1990's the snowman was converted to being illuminated by lamps not the flood and since then it has been rewired again using low voltage lamps.


The 3 ships have been a long time feature of the lights. Original ships were made by actually putting the lamps and the masts/sails on real boats. Now we use purpose built frames that float on their own pontoons. They are wired with low voltage lamps and have sails that move in the breeze. The ships are based on Cornish luggers hence the flat bow and sloped stern (despite their appearance they are sailing in - towards land!)


This is the original Mousehole Mouse that was made in 1990 by one of our electrician’s wives! It was scaled off a drawing that was 50mm square. It is made from low voltage lamps and was one of the first items to use low voltage miniature lamps for close up detail. The design proved so successful, that several other items were converted to the same lamps. It is built using wire mesh on a wooden frame and all of the lamps are cable-tied to the mesh. The original design was produced by one of our committee members for use on collector’s stickers and to give us an 'Official' logo.


Originally the Women’s Institute logo, this was converted to a Pear Tree in the early 1990's. The original location was underneath the village clock against the front wall of the harbour office. The partridge was added during the conversion and was made by one of our electrician's wives. The Partridge was an experiment to use outdoor Christmas tree lights (The type you buy for your homes). It wasn't the most successful of experiments, but it still remains as part of the current display.


The Cross and Angels are located in the very centre of the Harbour lights display. Originally just 2 angels kneeling and facing each other and the cross being located on the end of the old quay, they were put together as one set piece in 1982 following the Penlee lifeboat disaster. On the night of the 19th December all of the lights are 'Dimmed' with the exception of the Cross and Angels and the Celtic Cross as a mark of respect for the lost crews of the Solomon Browne and the Union Star Coaster.


Built in 1984 it was the showpiece on the Christmas edition of BBC's Blue Peter. The lights celebrated it's 21st year and to help the celebrations Blue Peter's Simon Groom and Goldie the dog came to switch the lights on. The Galleon was erected and tested a few days before the arrival of Blue Peter and then put into storage to allow them to film us erecting it on the day. The sight of the cameras in the village drew large crowds and instead of the usual 20 or so volunteers there were over 50! In later years the galleon was used, but the colours were changed so it no longer resembled the original Blue Peter Galleon. Mousehole lights were awarded the 'Blue Peter Badge'. You can see the footage of the Blue Peter show by clicking here. 


The largest of our set pieces approximately 160ft (50m) long x 20ft (6m) high and contains nearly 1000 bulbs. The power for this item was originally supplied from a local residents household, but when it was double wired in 1989 to alternate between Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, our own supply was required due to the power surges. In 1999 the year numbers were added as part of our Millennium Project. The letters are so large that they can be read with the naked eye at Marazion - some 5 miles away. In 2012 we rewired the whole set piece at a cost of nearly £1000 and over 400 hours work. The item now "Dims" and "Flashes", giving us much better control over the transitions and prevention of power surges.


Located in the harbour in front of fishermans square, another of our major set pieces. Each Bell was 3m high and the Holly 3m long. During the time that this set piece was used, we used to erect our own scaffolding and it took a whole weekend to put this single display up. We have replaced the bells with new smaller ones and they are animated to look as though they are ringing. The Holly was put with the flickering candle and the berries cable and holders used to make a star - so nothing goes to waste!


We have around 20 strings of lanterns and some of these are purchased lanterns but the ones around the harbour are manufactured by us. The unique design has been used at Mousehole for over 30 years. They are simply children's beach buckets - we remove the handles, drill 2 holes in one bucket for the cable and one drain hole in the other to let any water out. Place a holder and lamp inside and cable-tie the buckets together.


The 'Flashing Star' was a very impressive set piece. It stood nearly 8m tall and 5m wide. It had 3 circuits that made the star 'Grow' in size. the smallest star on first, then the middle one and finally the largest one. The controller was a rotating drum which had raised metal tracks that operated microswitches and relays. The drum was driven by a 110v motor with a 110v lamp in series with it and a fan belt connected the drum and motor together all housed in a large wooden box.


The 'Candle in a lantern' was an idea to make an actual 3 dimensional set piece. We have tried making items that look like 3D, but this gave us the opportunity to go one step further and actually make the item real 3D. The lantern was originally made from rope light, but now it's made from Low Voltage lamps and the candle has been remade also using low voltage lamps. The original candle is still in use as a stand-alone item.


Built to celebrate the centenary of the Mousehole Male Voice Choir (1909 to 2009) it was located prominently on the Wharf. During the summer of 2009 it was on the back of the Old Quay. In 2009 we invited some of the oldest serving Male Voice Choir members to switch the lights on.


The Welcome sign was made in 1991. Originally using external low voltage lamps (Domestic outside Christmas tree lights) it was modified to the mains voltage ones a few years later. The sign forms an arch which you pass under to enter the village and is perfectly situated as the formal "Welcome" from the Mousehole Lights Committee!


The sea serpent has been remade several times as the weather in December and January can badly affect the displays, even those in the shelter of the harbour. The original serpent was made for the 1973 display and was donated by a local carpenter. A few years back following the near total destruction of the Serpent during storms, we decided to rebuild it and animate it. So now it breathes fire and each hump 'dips' into the water as it swims along.


Made in 1982, the candles were placed at the end of the Old Quay. They had to withstand some of the worst of the weather, so were manufactured with solid backs and the fronts covered with extra thick polythene to seal the lamps inside. Always the last item to go up and the first to be taken down to save them from being damaged. They had rope stays that held them firm and clamped to the railings with steel brackets. They were approx 1m wide and 6m tall, but due to the construction they were very heavy - it took at least 8 people to get them upright!


The fountain was an attempt to light moving water. It was quite successful; indeed we even had it spraying over a dolphin. Our biggest problem was that Mousehole is a tidal harbour, so when the tide went out the water disappeared, so controlling the pump was a problem. When the tide was low, the filters would suck in sand and seaweed constantly blocking. This was the idea of one of our technicians, but not so popular amongst all of them, as they spend the Christmas period trying to keep salt water out of the electrics and the fountain sprayed gallons of water per minute into the air to be blown over everything in the harbour!


From the very beginning we have used this icon of Christmas in our displays. We have had various designs of Christmas tree including a 'fold-up' version which the 'Cross members' swivel to reduce the size and make storage easier. Also colours have varied, we've had white ones, green ones and we switch the colours of the tips and tops to make them look a little different. Some have had trunks and some have curved branches, but the basic design has remained the same. The average tree has between 40 and 50 lamps (Depending on the size and also the distance from the harbour) and cost around 15 pence per hour to light. We have approx 15 trees in our display (It varies from year to year), the smallest being 2m tall and the largest 4m tall.

   For many years we had a real Christmas Tree. It was bought for the School at Mousehole by the Penlee Quarry and after the school closed for it's Christmas Break, the tree was brought out and placed in the display. It was originally decorated with standard 240v lamps, but a damp tree and the odd lamp missing (Through vandalism or theft) meant that people often got slight "Tingles" of electric shocks. As a result the tree was dropped from the display. 2013 saw the revival and lit with 2,500 low voltage LED's.

Our Pudding has been around now since the mid 1980's. Originally it was located on the hillside, hence the size of it. In recent years it has been in the harbour to make installing it easier and in 2010 it was remade with the one shown here. It's a scaled down version of the original which stood some 8m high. The original had a gap between the plate and the cream to shape the pudding and the 'In joke' on the newest member of the lights was to put them in charge of the 'black light bulbs' that supposedly lit the pudding up! Locally we called it "Angela's pudding" after one of the wives of a member who was known for her baking.


The Robin is another favourite amongst the Lights team. It has a prominent position on the top of the hillside and is the very first thing you see as you round Penlee point heading into the village. The Robin was renewed in 2010 using low voltage lamps and a new lightweight frame. For many years the Robin had a sparrow’s tail - but not a lot of people noticed! The original Robin was the largest item that we could store, it came apart into sections and they would just fit through the doors of our store area on the diagonal. So if it was just a few centimetres larger we wouldn't have been able to put it away after the Christmas!


The Growing Christmas Tree - this is a remake of the original that was made and donated by one of our electricians in the 1990's. Originally it had parcels as well as growing in size, flashing fairy lights and a star on top. It was controlled by a set of motorised cams and microswitches, but during the rebuild it had an electronic control circuit built to replace the mechanical controller. It starts off with just the pot, then a small tree appears, it gets bigger and bigger, then the star appears, the fairy lights come on and then they flash.


Shiny balls are a feature of Christmas so why not have them in the Mousehole display! Of course we can’t just have them static we had to go one stage further and animate them. They will start to spin slowly and then speed up. They start to slow down again and then finally come to a stop as if the cotton gets tight. Slowly they will spin in the opposite direction, speed up and slow back down again to mimic a real shiny ball hanging by a thread.          


Built to celebrate the diamond Jubilee it was located prominently on the Wharf of Christmas 2011. It was also put into the harbour under the North Cliff during the bank holiday weekend in July 2012 for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

    Built to celebrate the Golden Jubilee it was located prominently on the Wharf of Christmas 2002. It was also put on the back of the old Quay for July 2002 for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.


The 'Flickering Candle' was made in the 1990's. It was placed below the Lobster pot hotel on scaffolding for many years. The Holly came from the old (By then retired and recycled) 'Bells and Holly'. The control unit is very basic, but also very clever, it's 2 fluorescent light starters that cause the flicker effect - each half of the flame switches between red and yellow. The starters do wear out and we replace them approx twice whilst the lights are on. We have tried several different techniques to control the flame 'electronically' and nothing gives the true 'random' flicker that the starters provide!


The Cracker was made in the early 1980's and was located on the Newlyn side of the village, so it could only be seen by walking around the harbour. After a couple of years we decided to move it to a more prominent location and to flash the star at the centre. We have (in 2013) upgraded it a cost of nearly £5000 to LED lighting and a lightweight metal frame. We also took the chance to make it "Burst open".


The 'Mousehole cat' made famous in the award winning book by Antonia Barber. The cat, called 'Mowzer', takes its place in the harbour watching the 'Starry gazy' pie that also comes from the legend of 'Tom Bawcock'. The cat is approx 5m tall, contains around 110 lamps and it is assembled on scaffolding. Great debate takes place each year as to the colour of Mowzer's eye and collar, but traditionally the eye was blue and the collar red as shown in the picture.


The 'Starry Gazy pie' made in 1990 and originally lit by individual lamps with chasing rope lights to make the stars 'Twinkle'. It has had a few rewires over the years and presently is lit by rope lights with the stars lit by lamps (The exact opposite of the original design). It takes pride of place beneath the Ship Inn where the pie is traditionally baked and paraded through the bar on the 23rd December to the sounds of the locals singing the traditional song of Tom Bawcock.


The 'Bottle and Glass' was a donation from one of our electricians. He originally made the piece and displayed it outside of his electrical shop in Newlyn, but when he closed the shop, he gave it to the Mousehole lights. Controlled by a complicated set of motorised cams and microswitches, it now has an electronic control system. The cork pops, the bottle tips, the champagne pours out and the level in the glass rises. The bottle then stands back upright and the champagne sparkles with tiny strobe lights. Although it's by no means the largest of our set pieces, it is by far the most complex to control.


Hale Bopp - This shooting star was the brainchild of one of our Technicians. The star stays on and the trail builds up and then all goes off. Originally the trails were made from tinsel and lamps, but it was changed several years back as the tinsel looked "Tacky" according to one of our other technicians!


Ben's Star - So called because of its location outside of Ben's house. It has a cross in the middle and 2 coloured borders. It's a very unique design and could be mistaken as something a little sinister due to it looking as though it has "Horns"! Originally made in the early 1970's it was retired in the late 1980's after becoming beyond economic repair. Not the best of photo's, but it's all we could find.


No Christmas would be the same without these! The Present was made in the 1990's. It was designed to make use of the bow, which has been associated with the bells and also the flickering candles. As we change designs, we like to 'Swap' items or parts of items around. This saves on building new parts, but also keeps our costs down - Recycle, nothing goes to waste!


The Village clock (Harbour office) used to have a star around the clock face and a large Christmas tree on the front of the building with lights around the apex and following the edge of the building to the rear. Over the years the team have been getting older and the more difficult tasks like putting the star up have been dropped. The harbour office itself is the location of the Harbour lights committee meetings and over the years great debates have taken place here (Usually as to relocating an item or changing the colour!).


Snowflakes have been around for a few years, we had a huge one many years ago and the colour was made by placing lamps in washing-up bowls! Or new snowflakes are made from lightweight frames and LED ropelighting. They twinkle every now and again to give the impression of them falling down the hillside


Our rocking horse was added to the display in 2013. It is designed to "Rock" back and forth, but we ran out of time to make it happen. Keep an eye on it next year to see if we can get it to work!


Our Nativity is claimed to be the largest in West Cornwall if not the whole west country. It's been a long time in the making, but thanks to the dedicated hard work of one of our team it's come to life. You will need to walk around to get the best view of it, walk up 'Old Quay Street' and see it as you turn the corner. Absolutely stunning.

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