Lighting and sound equipment in cathedrals

Lighting and sound equipment can make a big difference to the character and appreciation of a cathedral building.

It can also play an important part in making a cathedral accessible to all.

We can help you make the right choice for your cathedral.

Download our guidance

Salisbury Cathedral at night with its spire lit up in Green Diocese of Salisbury

Where to begin?

Step one: put together a brief
Step two: make sure all your policies and plans are consistent

Develop your proposal

A named member of chapter should manage proposals to install new lighting or sound equipment.

The proposals should be developed in close discussion with the cathedral architect and archaeologist to make sure the impact of the work is understood and any necessary mitigation measures are incorporated from an early stage.

This should be the case even where the detailed proposal will be developed by or with an external specialist consultant.

What permissions do you need?

For installations involving permanent addition to the fabric
For installations involving permanent alteration to the fabric
For external lighting schemes

What do we look for in your application?

The Commission and your Fabric Advisory Committee will assess your proposal based on its effect on the architectural, archaeological, artistic or historic character of the cathedral.

This includes:

  • Its physical impact on the fabric and archaeological remains
  • Its visual impact on the character of the building

Set out how the visual impact and any archaeological impact will be mitigated.

In addition, demonstrate how your proposals take account of

Supporting information for your application

Include the following supporting information with your application to the Commission or your Fabric Advisory Committee:

  • An introductory statement by chapter with background information and putting the work in context
  • A statement of the need for the work
  • Reference to the cathedral’s access audit or other assessment
  • Reference to the cathedral’s liturgical and conservation management plan
  • Reference to any facilities audit and trials or mock-ups that have been carried out, and how these have informed the proposals
  • A description of the proposed work
  • Illustrative material (e.g. drawings, photographs, etc.) – these might be provided by an external consultant
  • Relevant technical information (e.g. equipment specifications, fixings, finishes, etc.)
  • Impact statements by the cathedral architect and archaeologist

Find out more about preparing your application