The humble Paraffin Lamp gets its own festival at Livingston's Almond Valley
THE humble paraffin lamp takes pride of place at the Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingston’s Winter Festival of Paraffin.
The paraffin heater once brought warmth and comfort to millions. The oil-fired appliances offered a cheap and convenient source of heat that could be carried from room-to-room, but had their own distinctive smell and were the source of many accidents.
With the adoption of central heating, paraffin heaters were banished to the history books, and now can only be found in museums, such as the Almond Valley Heritage Centre.
Almond Valley, which has a special interest in the history of Scotland’s oil industry, has now adopted the paraffin heater as the centre piece of a very unusual winter festival.
Based on originals in its collection, the museum has constructed a huge model heater standing almost four metres high. This giant replica sits at the centre of after-dark festivities, beaming out flickering light through its ornate grilles, belching smoke, and casting giant shadows, The heater is also said to have become the home for a long-forgotten race of Paraffin Pixies - these tiny creatures have left a trail of paraffin lanterns guiding visitors on their winter journey.
The evocative smell of hot paraffin wafts through the air, adding to the seasonal magic by recalling memories of times gone by.
The Winter Realm of the Paraffin Pixies, Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Millfield, Livingston, Friday 27 to Monday 30 December and Friday 3 to Monday 5 January, visit www.almondvalley.co.uk/pixie.html