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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.99

CES Lighting and Electrical specialists illuminate England’s second oldest Cathedral

1 RochesterCathedral 2209 107 HDRRochester Cathedral is a Grade I listed building and is England’s second oldest Cathedral having been founded in AD 604. Located in the heart of the town of Rochester on the banks of the River Medway, the Cathedral attracts worshippers from across the country as well as many visitors and tourists.   

The cathedral has undergone a number of renovations, extensions and reconfiguration over its lifetime. Most recently, a holistic lighting scheme to bring together the exterior and interior of the Cathedral, was commissioned. The project also incorporates a wiring assessment, alongside the introduction of a lighting control system that is suited for the daily activities of the Cathedral as well as accommodating special or one-off events.  

The new scheme was to replace the existing lighting at the Cathedral which was no longer fit for purpose. It was high in energy consumption, inefficient and unable to meet the demands of larger scale events such as concerts. 

CES Lighting was appointed to the project as lighting designers, with the brief to produce detailed concepts for various elements of the interior and exterior of the Cathedral. As specialists in lighting design and electrical installation for churches and heritage buildings, CES Lighting were the ideal partner for the Rochester Cathedral project. CES Lighting worked closely with the architects, Thomas Ford Architects, throughout the duration of the project.  

It was imperative that the lighting scheme and wiring were sympathetic to the form, function, and architecture of the Cathedral. It also needed to account for the different usage of the various areas of the religious building.  

The design process was completed in early 2021, with the work not beginning until later that year. To ensure the design delivered everything the Cathedral needed and wanted, videos, demonstrations and innovations were all drawn upon as techniques by CES to explore a plethora of options and deliver the final scheme.  

The installation works were extremely challenging due to the site being open every day. Furthermore, global shortages of LEDs, electronic components and metal supplies meant that materials were delayed. However, this did not cause any delays to the overall completion time of the project, which was finished on time and under budget.  

As part of the brief RGBW lighting was required for the main Pulpit steps. This allows the Cathedral to be illuminated in different colors for a variety of purposes, including concerts, choral events, shows, drama activities and more. A significant number of manufacturers were looked at, and GVA Lighting’s architectural FL100-RGBW-IM finished in RAL1015 utilizing Color-Amp® award-winning technology was selected. This was due to GVA Lighting’s ability to provide the perfect balance of output, beam angle, cost, and aesthetics.   

All of the internal LED luminaires are controlled from a centralised dimming system to enable synchronised dimming and to allow for holistic scene setting for service or events. 

Control of the dimming system is achieved through a wall-mounted button plate with each button recalling a pre-set scene.  

The Cathedral is now more energy efficient which delivers both cost and energy savings. Furthermore, it is able to meet the demands of its wide range of day-to-day activities as well as larger, one-off events. 


More information about the Rochester Cathedral can be found on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochester_Cathedral 

Click here to see a 360° image of the cathedral.

For more information on CES visit www.ces-lighting.co.uk