Our Philosophy

A shit light

Hello. Nick here. I co-founded Any Old Lights with Patrick in 2014 and now run the business with my wife, Sinead, and a fabulous local staff.

It occurred to me, as I browsed what purported to be “nautical lighting” on the internet recently, that I have never stated clearly our philosophy.

We will only ever stock top-quality lighting

I see so much lighting, some claiming to be nautical, some claiming to be vintage, that makes me sigh. I imagine tapping it, and I can hear in my head the resulting tinny, hollow ‘dink’. I can feel its flimsiness. The thin sheet metal. The “antique” finish. We will never stock that sort of thing. Ever.

Any Old Lights lights don’t ‘dink’ – they ‘donk’. Quality, heavy metal castings.

We will only ever stock genuine nautical lighting

I’m going to pick on the light I’ve featured here, which sums up the malaise to me. (If you stock it, or if you like it, I apologise.) There are versions of that light all over the place, described variously as a “nautical light” and “fisherman’s light”. Now, I’ve not seen every nautical light ever made, and maybe it actually is based on an original ship’s light. But I doubt it.

I have met a fair few fisherman, living by the sea as we do, and I can categorically state that no fisherman would have that in the house, let alone on their boat.

Any Old Lights lights are either genuine vintage nautical, having been salvaged from scrapped ships, or if we’ve created our own Revivals version, they are based closely on the designs of vintage nautical originals.

We won’t stock it if we don’t like the look of it

Maybe that doesn’t make good business sense – and I guess there are a couple of patterns we’ve mistakenly stocked that have made me shudder in the past. But I need to feel proud of what we offer to the customer. I need to be able to say, with hand on heart, that I believe the lights we sell are bloody gorgeous. And I can. Hopefully, if you browse the website, you can see where we’re coming from. We’re definitely on the industrial side of nautical. No chintz.

But it’s all about the design. If the designer clearly cared, then we do too. Good on yer.

If we say it’s vintage then it’s vintage

To clarify, by definition “vintage” means 20 years old or more – which these days means made before 1998, which is terrifying. I’m still living in 1983, watching the Serious Moonlight tour, and 1998 feels like a post-apocalyptic vision of the future.

If it says “Vintage” on our website then that item is 20 years older or more. (If we don’t then it isn’t.) The majority of our lights happen to be considerably older than that. We have a gorgeous old copper maritime lamp in the shop that dates back to the 1870s – now that is old. (Sorry, I really must get around to putting it online.) And it reeks of history. That’s what drives us. The stories behind our lights, about which we can only imagine – and that’s the fun. Imagining.

And you may think that sounds only right, stating that vintage is vintage. But the amount of lighting I see that calls itself vintage, when it isn’t. It’s new! It is nought years old. It comes in a box with its picture on, for heaven’s sake! If it wasn’t nailed to the perch, etc.

We aren’t terribly swayed by fashions

I do read the interiors magazines and the blogs about the latest trends, but we all know how the fashion industry works: keep changing it so the followers keep buying it. I’ve no doubt, given the proliferation of that light again, that its pattern is somehow on-trend.

Of course things date, and become tired, but that’s missing the point of “vintage”. Which is all about reliving the past and celebrating it. It’s kind of the antithesis of fashion. Until vintage becomes fashionable.

“Ooh, copper lighting’s really in at the moment!”

I don’t particularly care. If a vintage light was cast in copper and looks great, we’ll have it. If I can create a light in copper that relishes in said metal, we’ll make it. It comes back to only stocking lights we like the look of.

So our prices are always going to be higher than those of the purveyors of the sort of thing pictured, because the lights we source are quality, design-led, regularly rare, are expensive to ship because they’re heavy, and have been chosen with great consideration.

That’s what we stand for at Any Old Lights.

Thank you for listening.

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