Until the late 19th century the Museum was lit by natural daylight. Candles, oil lamps and gas lamps were not used in the galleries for fear of fire, and so the Museum was often forced to close early due to poor light in winter or during a London fog. As such, the Museum became one of the first public buildings in London to install electric lighting. In 1879 experimental electric lighting was provided in the Front Hall, the Reading Room and in the Forecourt. Although this early lighting system was unreliable, the Reading Room was able to stay open until 19.00 during the winter. Within 10 years an improved system had been extended to most of the public areas.