Rochester Cathedral, Grade 1 listed is England’s Second oldest cathedral.

Founded in 604 by Bishop Justus with the permission of King Æthelberht, Rochester Cathedral has over 1400 years of history with the current building having been constructed from 1083 under the Norma bishop Gundulf.

The Cathedral was initially built in a Romanesque style of architecture, however after a major fire in 1179 the building was repaired in a Gothic style. The building has been used on occasions as a base for soldiers besieging the castle most notably in 1215 under King John, under Simon de Montford when opposing Henry III and by Oliver Cromwell’s troops during the English Civil War.

The Building has undergone countless repairs and upgrade projects over the centuries as funds became available and inevitability ran out leading to a fascinating building full of character and charm where no corner is like another.

Rochester Cathedral has always played an important role in community, no more than now where the cathedral is used for a plethora of secular activities along with its traditional liturgical services. The lighting which had not had any serious upgrade since the 1960s was not facilitating the needs of the Cathedral.

The new lighting design aimed to follow this ethos, be discreet in its application emphasising the architecture of the building. CES, specialists in lighting end electrical design were commissioned to overhaul the lighting and electrical system to capture its historic nature and cater for the 21st century needs of the Cathedral. The new lighting eclipses the old, where there was no lighting there is now detailed highlighting of features and monuments. Where there was poor lighting there is now the flexibility for bright functions or subdued moments of reflection. There is also an estimated yearly savings of over £4,000.00.

There were many intricacies to the design; cable routes, fixings, custom brackets, innovative ways to mount fittings without disrupting or damaging priceless historic features of the Cathedral.

To the west of the Nave are located the Engineer’s plaques. A bespoke shelf was designed and crafted sit within each reveal to hide the lighting and wiring.

Each of the gritty dogtooth Arcades, Triforium and Clerestory elements were illuminated to emphasise the perceived height of the Cathedral drawing the viewer up to the details in the roof structure that would have otherwise been neglected.

The Cathedral is now controlled by a single integrated lighting control system so there is no more running to the 100 different switch positions when you leave. The lighting can all be controlled via DMX desk when external Highers or concerts take over the building.

The design process took over 2-years and was impacted by delays caused by COVID-19. The installation began mid-2021 and has recently been completed.

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