Techies take over the tower to let there be light

The countdown to Smeaton’s Tower lighting up gets underway on Monday 13 April with technicians taking over the tower to begin the installation.

The symbol of Britain’s Ocean City will be lit up by the end of the month, if the installation programme goes according to plan.

LITE ltd, supported by Hydrock and Hyde Park Electricals, will be on site over the next week and as a result, the tower will be closed to the public. It will, however, open at the weekend and school trips which have booked for a tour of the tower will still get the usual tour. The works have also been planned to ensure that the Plymouth Half Marathon will be undisturbed.

During the week, fencing will be in place as work around the base of the tower will involve installing 12 powerful LED lamps embedded into the pavement. Inside the tower, lamps will be installed in the lantern, the windows and the underside of the roof will get a spring clean to allow the lights to shine out.

Around the balcony two slim fitting strips of LED lights will be installed to illuminate the outside of the lantern so that when illuminated at night all the tower will be visible.

Councillor Peter Smith, deputy leader of the Council said: “We’ve got listed building planning permission to install the LED lighting in and around the tower and the balcony and it’s full steam ahead for the work.

“Smeaton’s Tower is a symbol of Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City and to be able to see it lit up at night and in the evening will mean a lot to residents and visitors alike.”

Technical trials have been carried out to check the effect of the lamps as well as the intensity and colour range of the lights. Extremely careful consideration has to be being given to the exact location of the lamps, how they will fixed in place and where cables will be taken to supply the lamps, this is to respect the importance of this Grade I listed building.

Lights will be on every evening although the exact hours to be agreed. This will be a cool white illumination. The colour can vary but will only be used for special occasions and events.

Once the contractors have completed Smeaton’s they will move across to Charles Cross where new LED lighting will replace the current lighting to provide a much more intense lighting display of the church.

Smeaton’s Tower was designed in 1759 by John Smeaton and formerly sited on Eddystone Rock, was moved to Plymouth Hoe in 1882. It is now an iconic symbol of the city, featuring on the recent Ocean City branding as well as numerous other reproductions that promote Plymouth as a historic and contemporary maritime city and a tourist destination.