1/5

St Helier Parish Church, known as the 'Town Church', is one of the twelve 'Ancient Parish Churches' on Jersey, and serves as the island’s Pro‑Cathedral.  The lighting in this project was designed and installed before LED lighting 'came of age'. 

Involvement: The previous lighting in the nave, chancel, south aisle, Lady Chapel and north transept mainly comprised a series of rudimentary wall mounted up-lights devoid of any optical control.  These were fitted with metal halide lamps which had, over the years, been replaced with lamps of differing colour temperatures.  A few inefficient PAR 38 spotlights provided some highlighting around the Sanctuary and Lady Chapel altars, and a recessed metal halide 'high bay' downlight on a hand winch was mounted above each of the crossings.  The narthex gallery at the west end of the church was lit with semi‑concealed fluorescent battens.

Due to the open style of the church, the decision was made to replace the existing up-lights with new units having asymmetric reflectors and using 70W long life metal halide lamps.  To supplement the indirect lighting from these, each unit had an adjustable mains voltage tungsten halogen spotlight mounted beneath it.  A series of surface mounted lighting tracks were installed in the crossings, chancel and Lady Chapel.  These are fitted with adjustable low voltage tungsten halogen spotlights with integral transformers to provide more effective highlighting of the area around the altars as well as the pulpit, lectern, chancel step, and the then planned (and now installed) new organ case on the gallery above the south transept vestry.  For cost reasons, the high bay downlights in the crossings were merely cleaned and re-lamped.  The fluorescent lights in the narthex gallery were also left in place, but new wiring will allow dimmable fluorescent units to be installed later.

The lighting is controlled through switches and rotary dimmers in the vestry, but the wiring was designed to allow more sophisticated controls to be installed later.

As well as the lighting, we were also responsible for the design, specification and commissioning of new sound and audio-visual systems.

At the heart of the sound system is a DSP (digital signal processor) which, amongst other things, provides signal routing and equalisation.  Well controlled compact loudspeakers are generally mounted in similar positions to those in the previous system, and are capable of handling high power full range music as well as speech.  These are zoned to allow sound in the Lady Chapel to be used on its own.

A comprehensive wiring and patching infrastructure provides great flexibility.  This allows basic control of the system using a hand held 8 channel mixer connected to the DSP via one of several data tie lines, as well as more sophisticated control using a larger digital or analogue sound mixer above or below the gallery, these being hired or brought in when required by a band, for instance.

There are a number of fixed and portable microphones, including several wireless mics, and an induction loop is provided for the hard of hearing.

The audio-visual system uses a motorised screen which is stored out of sight above the chancel arch and lowered using an infra-red controller.  The video projector is mounted just inside the north transept and has extensive lens shift and keystone correction capabilities so there is virtually no loss of image definition despite it being so far to one side of the screen.

The a-v system can be linked to the sound system when required for Powerpoint presentations and the replay of sound from DVDs.

All audio, video and data inputs and outputs can be patched from the rack in the vestry.

Photos © Paul Covell Consultants & St Ann's Gate Architects