Let there be light

Fan vault ceiling - Photo by Drew Aitcheson

A new state-of-the-art LED lighting is currently being installed in Bath Abbey.

With more than 170 light sources, its designed to highlight and enhance the historic church’s beautiful interior and especially its magnificent fan vaulted ceiling.

Following the completion of the floor repairs and installation of the underfloor heating as part of the Footprint project, the Abbey is now carrying out further improvements to preserve the inside of this historic church building while updating and opening it up in new ways for all.

In addition to installing new data and sound systems in order to improve accessibility – both within the Abbey and for virtual events – a new LED lighting system is being set up and trialled throughout February. 

The new environmentally-friendly LED system of more than 170 light sources is designed to highlight and enhance the Abbey’s beautiful interior, and will replace the electric downlighters which were installed in the 1990s. The new improved lighting will be much more energy efficient, reducing the Abbey’s carbon footprint as well as bringing massive savings.

Designed by Michael Grubb Studio in partnership with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the new lighting system will replace the existing ones with softer, whiter lights, which will showcase the Abbey’s honey-coloured stonework and magnificent fan vaulted ceiling more effectively. An exciting new feature will also give the option of having different coloured light on the ceiling, allowing the Abbey to adapt its lighting to suit the occasion and for special services and events.

Here’s a link to a video of the lighting trial inside the Abbey showing the fan-vaulted ceiling changing from dark to light:https://youtu.be/YpxOWk69klQ

The Abbey will retain all 15 of its original Victorian chandeliers, designed by Francis Skidmore in 1870, which already incorporate LED lights having been restored and adapted back in 2013.

The Revd Canon Guy Bridgewater, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: “We are delighted that the lighting trials are going really well and we’re on track to replace our current lighting with a modern, energy-saving LED system. It will really enhance the overall appearance of the Abbey and bring out the best of the architecture while reducing energy consumption. Together with other aspects of the Footprint project, this is all part of our efforts to restore and improve the Abbey to create a welcoming, comfortable place for all our community, worshippers and visitors and for years to come. These improvements are not only essential on a practical level, they are also key in enabling us to fulfil the Abbey’s mission, as we continue to care for our beautiful church building and those we serve in the community ,while pursuing outstanding care of both our built and natural environment.”