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Let there be (better) light

23 November 2012

IT CONTAINS the oldest surviving Saxon arch in the City of London, there is a Roman tessellated floor in the crypt, and it has been a beacon on Tower Hill since 675 AD. It narrowly escaped the flames of the Great Fire of London, but the nave was destroyed in the Blitz, leaving only the tower standing.

All Hallows by the Tower, even though now largely rebuilt, is still full of history and historic remains. It has spectacularly colourful customs, such as beating the bounds on Ascension Day, and in June, when a single rose is carried in procession to the Guildhall for the Knollys Rose ceremony. It is also a lively and inclusive church, with a thriving congregation.

The interior lighting has been completely redesigned by Light Perceptions, thanks to the Biffa Award grant of money from the Landfill Tax. "Our aim," the Vicar, the Revd Bertrand Olivier, says, "was to install a system that would appreciably improve the lighting throughout the building, while preserving the integrity of its architecture, and significantly reducing our carbon footprint through the use of up-to-date lighting technology."

The 15th-century Tate panel in the Lady Chapel is now beautifully illuminated, together with Tubby Clayton's Toc H lamp, but a small picture on this page would not do it justice; so we show a general picture of the newly lit altar and pulpit.


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