The Royal Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula at the Tower of London is an historically important place of worship that is also visited by many tourists. Recently a refurbishment programme was completed. A key element of this project was improving the chapel’s lighting - important not only for its practical and its aesthetic qualities, but to reduce energy usage too. Working with lighting designer Bruce Kirk of Light Perceptions, we produced nine chandeliers that were carefully designed, engineered and manufactured to meet all of the requirements.
They were commissioned by Tracy Simmons Conservation Building Surveyor at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity which cares for the Tower of London. The design concept for the chandeliers made reference to the shape of the chapel’s arched windows and they were produced in our London factory in brass and hand finished in bronze and gilt.
This project brought with it unique challenges that had to be overcome in order to provide adequate light levels and design integrity while optimising historically important features. For example, the Chapel’s beams were part of the original fabric of this Tudor building. The four large chandeliers positioned in the main nave of the chapel required support cradles to be fixed to these beams. This needed to be done in a way that allowed the energy efficient LED lamps to highlight important architectural features without damaging the ancient timbers. Dernier & Hamlyn designed the support cradles to fix around these beams, working with existing fixing holes to ensure this was achieved and positioned the LED lamps so that their effect was maximised throughout the chapel.
Dernier & Hamlyn’s joint managing director Brian Spiking who leads on the technical and manufacturing aspects of the business says: “We are an extremely well established team with highly skilled people who have expertise rarely found in the UK these days. However, this project presented issues that even we had never had to work through before. Overcoming the problems we encountered on the way was time consuming but ultimately extremely satisfying that we have contributed to the ongoing survival and historical significance of this building that is famous around the world.”
The chandeliers have been installed around the chapel adding appropriate light levels as well as additional design features to this unique environment.
Tracy Simmons says: “The continued conservation of such historically important buildings is a huge responsibility so we always ensure that the suppliers we use are not only highly skilled experts in their respective fields, but also share our passion and respect for the job they are undertaking. We are delighted with these beautiful chandeliers and expect them to be an important feature in the chapel for many, many years.”