St. John the Divine, Willenhall

Job Date: August 2020 Project Duration: 3 Weeks Job Value: £24,000 Project Type: Internal Lighting

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In 1950’s the City of Coventry was being rebuilt after the destruction of the Blitz. Bishop Gorton of Coventry, who was a strong supporter of the appointment of Basil Spence as architect for his new cathedral, also commissioned three new churches from the architect for outlying areas of the city. To pay for these Gorton used the money which the diocese had received from the War Damages Commission as compensation for the bombing of one inner-city church. Spence wrote to the bishop offering to provide a ‘simple, direct, topical and traditional solution which should be serviceable to the church yet inexpensive’. £50,000 had to be made to stretch to all three churches, each of which would also have a community hall and a bell tower. The three churches, St. Chad Wood End, St. Oswald Tile Hill and St. John the Divine Willenhall, were built between 1954-1957 and in each case a vicarage, designed by Spence, was later added to the grouping. St. John the Divine was granted its Grade 2 listing in 2015.

CLS Electrical Services LTD were asked to provide a lighting design and specification which was to offer a greater level of illumination throughout the worship space and retain and incorporate the existing suspended glass pendants. We installed new DALI controlled LED projector spotlights at high level to the East face of the concrete columns. These offer both an enhanced general level of illumination as well as providing focussed illumination onto various important features such as the font, pulpit, altar and wall sculpture. These new lights are fed from one single cable, meaning the visual impact of the additional lighting has been kept to a minimum.

The existing pendants were cleaned, re-lamped with dimmable LED lamps and then wired to be controlled from the new lighting system. A simple 10-Button control plate was installed to instantly recall any programmed lighting scene. The system can also be operated wirelessly throughout the church using a tablet or mobile phone.

“Thank you for all of your amazing work! The resulting new lighting scheme looks spectacular and is fully in keeping with our Sir Basil Spence Grade II Listed church. We are going to have an enjoyable and creative time using the various DALI light scenes to enhance our worship, mission and ministry. I am very grateful too that we no longer have to climb a ladder to replace a 7 day candle each week for our sanctuary light because of the LED light you have installed, that looks just like the original! We have also been very grateful for all you have done, your calm sympathetic approach and understanding of church life. Also we are very impressed with how tidy and clean you kept the church.”

Reverend Pam Howell

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