Over the summer a small group have been working with the lighting designer to produce a ‘Concept’ document. This will give everyone a good idea about why we are changing the lighting, what the lighting is needed for and particularly, what the lighting will look like.
The major change will be that rather than trying to hide flood lights up by clerestory window, which make them difficult to maintain, and generally inadequate, we will be adopting a pendant scheme. The design of the pendants has not been decided yet, but is likely to be of an ‘arts and crafts design’ which will be in keeping with original architecture of the building
Additional lighting will be provided as discrete spotlights.
Such as illuminating the painting at the west end
The lighting for the main altar and the choir
As well as lighting in the clerestory windows and the roof
Further details of the proposed scheme will be shown as a display in church that will include more illustrations and explanations.
One important feature will be that the lighting scheme will give much greater control over light levels and areas to be lit, so that we can easily adapt for different services, general use, concerts, and exhibitions. However these different scenarios will all be computer controlled so that selecting a different lighting pattern will be a single button press, instead of changing banks of switches.
This is a very exciting scheme, but will obviously be expensive. We have already had some very generous gifts towards this, but we will also be looking for outside funding. A small team is being formed to take our new concept document to grant making bodies as an initial step in the process for applying for grants. We also need to apply to the Diocese for a faculty (permission to make changes to the church), which is usually a fairly lengthy process.
We hope everyone at St Paul’s is as excited about this project as we are. Not only will it bring us out of the gloom of the past few years, but it will provide a far more flexible system, easily operated, and far more maintainable. A very bright future!
Researching possible schemes
At the May meeting of the PC, it was decided that we would engage Bruce Kirk a lighting consultant with Light Perceptions (www.lightperceptions.co.uk) to lead us through the design and installation of the new lighting scheme. A small group of us were taken by Bruce to visit three previous church lighting schemes managed by his team.
The first was All Saints, Carshalton
This church is extremely ornate, with layers of gilded decoration. The main lighting comes from ornate pendants lights, each fitting having 24 bulbs. The style of the lighting fitted the surrounding perfectly, but gave plenty of flexibility. The pendants are augmented by strategically placed spotlights.
The second, St John the Baptist, Old Malden
St John’s is a smaller church, lit by much simpler ‘arts and crafts’ pendant lights, again with occasional spotlights to highlight specific features. The overall effect being unobtrusive and effective
The last church we visited was St Mary’s Church, Ealing.
The lighting is all by spotlight, strategically placed for dramatic effect. This lighting scheme was designed to highlight the many unusual architectural features, and to enhance the evangelical worship.
These provided us with a wealth of ideas about different ways to provide lighting that makes good use of space, enhances worship, and highlights the beauty of the building. Which proved very useful when Bruce re-visited us at St Paul’s to discuss preliminary ideas. We were able to point out areas we felt were important. Bruce explained various options, and talked about the importance of designing a scheme that enhances everything that happens in the church, but is also sympathetic to the building’s history. After a very productive meeting, Bruce left with our ideas, pictures he had taken, measurements, and even copies of old (pre-1900) photographs of the inside of the church to start on a ‘Concept’ document which will show us what can be achieved. We are expecting this document to be available for discussion at the September PCC meeting.
We will be reaching out to other groups that use the church to gather further opinions, so if anyone has any ideas please let us know.