St Paul’s Cathedral light trials

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St Paul’s Cathedral light trials
Credit Unsplash

St Paul’s Cathedral is soon to undergo a series of lighting tests as the City of London Corporation continues with plans “to reveal the building’s iconic architecture after dark”.

The Corporation is looking to replace the famous landmark’s 1980s lighting with a new LED system, which is also anticipated to deliver significant energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) savings.

A key feature of London’s skyline, St Paul’s Cathedral is visible as far away as Richmond Park during the day, and is one of the capital’s buildings to enjoy protected views. It however risks disappearing almost completely at night, partly due to developments such as those around Paternoster Square which required the removal of some of the original 1980s light fixtures.

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The age of the current lighting, installed in 1989, has also raised issues such as high energy use, light pollution and health and safety risks. Photos included in a report compiled ahead of a Projects and Procurement Sub-Committee meeting earlier today (December 4) demonstrate the diminished view of St Paul’s as the city gets darker. The report had previously been presented to the Corporation’s Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee, which decided the works should go ahead, though reappeared this afternoon to be noted by members.

The new lighting, the concept for which was produced by Speirs Major Light Architecture, aims to create a ‘warm wash of light’ which will illuminate the building’s key features, making them visible from afar. Speirs also notes the move could deliver a minimum 65 per cent drop in annual energy and maintenance costs, and a 66 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions.

Trials of potential new lighting are planned for January, illuminating part of the West Portico and Peristyle, one of the Bell Tower, and the Southern section of the Dome. A report will then be submitted to the Corporation, with approval to begin work expected in early 2025.

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