In the UK, electric Christmas lights are generally known as fairy lights. In 1881, the Savoy Theatre, London was the first building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity. Sir Joseph Swan, pioneer of the incandescent light bulb, supplied about 1,200 Swan incandescent lamps, and a year later, the Savoy owner Richard D'Oyly Carte equipped the principal fairies with miniature lighting supplied by the Swan United Electric Lamp Company, for the opening night of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Iolanthe on 25 November 1882. The term 'fairy lights', describing 'a small coloured light used in illuminations' had already entered English: its usage for a string of electrically powered Christmas lights has been common in the UK ever since.
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