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Thorn shines new light on iconic Durham Cathedral

Locally manufactured floodlights from Thorn Lighting are set to shine new light onto the historic Durham Cathedral.

Thorn Lighting, a leading manufacturer of innovative, performance-driven, and dependable indoor and outdoor lighting and control solutions, are working with Durham County Council and Durham Cathedral to replace the site’s current external lighting system.

The project team has been working carefully to develop a new lighting scheme that will be more efficient and reduce carbon emissions by employing the latest LED technology.

The high-quality creative scheme has been developed using Thorn Lighting’s NEW Contrast, energy efficient floodlights, and state-of-the-art control systems. This new programme of works is the first phase of a larger project which looks to renew the lighting system at the castle in the future.

The Contrast family offers a distinctive, long-lasting modern design, ideal for sympathetically lighting historic architecture. Its main benefit for the Durham Cathedral project is its RGBW option with wireless DMX and RDM (Remote Device Management), which will allow the Cathedral staff to change the colour remotely.

As with the current system, operators will be able to control the colour of the lighting, but with increased functionality and efficient sequencing. This will allow the Cathedral to sympathetically mark certain ceremonies and events throughout the year, such as Remembrance Day.

Cllr John Shuttleworth, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for rural communities and highways, comments: “Durham Cathedral and Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is an integral part of not only the city, but County Durham as a whole. A project like this has to be carefully managed and sympathetic to such a magnificent structure.

“It is a beacon across the world and a vitally important part of our culture, which complements other work being done across the county as part of our bid to be named UK City of Culture 2025. The new lighting will allow people to appreciate the Cathedral at night with a new perspective, while it also enhances the current structure and ensures the lights will be kept on for years to come.”

Maya Polenz, chief officer: property at Durham Cathedral, comments: “While the current system was installed only ten years ago, it is in much need of a refresh due to continuously failing and damaged lights. This new system will once again showcase the Cathedral in all its glory, as an icon of worship, history, and heritage on Durham’s landscape.

“We are grateful to Durham County Council for the investment, which will enable a reduction in our carbon footprint whilst enabling the building to be fully illuminated again. It will allow the cathedral and the wider county to mark moments of national significance, such as the upcoming celebrations for The Queen’s Jubilee.”

Sam Berry, Thorn Lighting’s Head of Outdoor Sales – UK & Ireland, comments, “Thorn are delighted to be working with Durham County Council and Durham Cathedral on such an iconic local landmark. Our brief was to provide a lighting solution that could offer both energy savings and dynamic colour changing scenes. This will enable the Cathedral to pre-program the colour of the light according to the event, supporting both commemorative days and charity events. We were able to meet this brief using a product that is manufactured at our local factory in Spennymoor.”


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