Yummy Victorian Light Switches

by Chris Newson on July 25, 2009

A lightswitch of joy!

A lightswitch of joy!

If you didn’t know that light switches could make you happy, then you have led a deprived life and need to get out more. Actually that’s me isn’t it. Hrmm, well, if you’re reading this, then there’s a fair chance that light switches can make you happy too, so I’ll go on…

Working out what light switches to put in a Victorian House is not the easiest of things to do, as the light switch only really came into existence in late Victorian times, so most of our houses would have been built without them, and pretty basic first generation light switches would have been dodgily retro-fitted by inexperienced electricians soon thereafter. Building control would have a fit.

This was one of the parts of the job where we tried to make a nod to Victorian ways without returning to exactly what they would have done.

After a bit of research, it soon became clear that the dolly switch (a stick with a little knobble on the end) would have been what would have been used for the switch itself. This would probably have been mounted on a dome sticking out from the wall. They would most likely have been made from UNLAQUERED brass (don’t get me started). Some of the domes would have been plain, some more ornate. They’d probably have been mounted on a block of wood.

Although I’m sure some people would be happy to go with something along these lines, it was a bit much for us, but after a bit of hunting around we managed to find some flat brass plates with a dolly switch on from Broughtons…and we love them!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jo December 8, 2011 at 11:39 am

This is so funny that i’m stumbling across this blog now, you wouldn’t believe how long i spent trawling around for the perfect light switches! I ended up going for forged antique silver ones from Bromleighs which i love! The link doesn’t show the antiqued silver but they do other finishes too:


Claire September 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm

We refurbed our 1850 brick and flint house and extended last year, I am now looking to replace the light switches to something a little more in keeping instead of the plastic b&q rubbish we have. Very imformative blog – well done, given me some great inspiration. Also looking at window and door furniture as we look a bit shiney!


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