View Full Version : Swinging the lamp - can you help?

Brian Probetts (Site Admin)
21st February 2012, 04:53 PM

I am a researcher at Newcastle University and aminterested in museums which display armed conflict and what they can tell usabout collective memory. I recently visited the National Memorial Arboreteumand heard that the phrase 'swinging the lamp' means to reminisce about oldtimes in the army or navy. I see that this is a phrase used on your website andso wondered if you could possibly tell me anymore about the phrase, how it is used and if you know where it originates from?

Many thanks.

Rhiannon Mason

21st February 2012, 06:01 PM
I thought , that this related to the old cabin lamps , Sealink had them on some of the older ferries , That were mounted on a Gimbal , the wilder the story , the rougher the sea got the more the lamp swung . May be wrong !

John Albert Evans
21st February 2012, 06:14 PM
I allways thought it meant 'telling fibs' or embellishing the truth about old times

John Albert Evans

Tony Wilding
21st February 2012, 06:46 PM
i looked on the net and it said, telling stories under an old swinging lamp on the deckead, usually exaggerated stories, i think it dates from the days of sailing ships.:th_thth5952deef:

Doc Vernon
21st February 2012, 06:51 PM
swinging the lamp - Telling sea stories. Referring to lamps slung from the deckhead (http://www.merchant-navy.net/wiki/deckhead) which swing while at sea. Often used to indicate that the story teller is exaggerating.

All similar to the preceeding posts!