From the middle of the 1700s oil lamps were commonly used to light the streets in many towns. For the first time, previously pitch black streets were visible by night. By 1800 many visitors to London were mesmerised by the bright city lights they encountered there, which became the envy of most European cities. This diary extract, written by the German writer Karl Philipp Moritz on a visit to London, describes the street lighting as a ‘festive illumination’.