When the tower restoration project got underway in 2006, the Reverend Jonathan Lloyd took the radical step of applying to Bath & North East Somerset Council to fund a new and contemporary lighting design. The existing lighting system illuminated the base of the tower, leaving the top dark; quite a lot of the light missed the building altogether. They were also old, inefficient white floodlights, mounted in the garden, that seemed to give off more heat than light.
BANES agreed, with a brief to design a scheme that enhanced the architectural detail of the tower, reduced light pollution, saved energy, minimised impact on the fabric of the building and also took into account the difficulties of maintenance access.
The scheme was designed and specified by Kieran Sturrock of Bath-based Enlightened Lighting, who also managed and installed the project for the vicar.
Enlightened were recommended for the job by a contact at Bath Abbey where they frequently supply events and functions with lighting. Sturrock jumped at the chance to illuminate the tower. “It’s a fabulous building, and the idea was to introduce a simple and stylish lighting design to emphasise the architectural detail of the structure rather than something that was a blanket wash.”
One of the challenges was to keep all the fixtures as concealed as possible.
Most of the units were fixed into position whilst the tower was shrouded in scaffolding and are now in completely inaccessible places, so reliability was essential.
New lights placed with great care
The installation is controlled from the Church office, and each of the 48 low power LEDs that light the tower can be changed to any colour imaginable at the press of a key. The power supplies are mounted in the bell chamber inside the tower, where an astronomical timer switches the lights on at sunset and off at sunrise.
The tower can be lit in just about any colour, but it usually follows the Liturgical calendar. For the Season of Advent, a rich ecclesiastical purple is used.
The lighting scheme has given the restored tower a life of its own. When lit, it is visible from all over the city, and it has become a local talking point.
This article was made with thanks to Enlightened Lighting and Anolis architectural lighting.
Pictures taken by Louise Stickland.
The tower can be lit in just about any colour imaginable, but it usually follows the Liturgical calendar, for example:
- Lent – purple
- Holy Week – red
- Easter Week – gold
- Pentecost – red
- Trinity Sunday – white
- Advent – whole tower purple
- Christmas Eve – white
The famous Advent purple.