What it is
Grade I listed Nunnington Hall was in need of some emergency lighting for one of its staircases. However, only a limited range of emergency light fittings could be found.
Several of these were considered, including standard rectangular ceiling mounted fittings, ceiling recessed fittings, LED elliptical ceiling mounted fittings and large spot lights.
None of these fittings were appropriate for the location, so a local electrical contractor was consulted about providing emergency light in the existing lantern fittings. With this option, the impact on the fitting would have been too great and it still would not have provided the required light levels along the route of the staircase.
What we did and why we did it
Whilst investigations were being carried out into emergency lighting options, additional oak handrails were also being arranged for the staircase.
At this point we had the idea of combining the two projects. Attaching light to the underside of the new handrail would be one way to provide the emergency lighting, with little intrusion into the historic fabric of the building.
This possibility was discussed with the electrical contractor. Upon further investigation a company was found who use ‘light tape’ for decorative lighting.
The ‘light tape’ company were approached for a demonstration, and to determine the viability and light levels of their product. They then worked with the electrician to design a system that would provide emergency lighting, via the light tape, fitted to the underside of the handrails.
What else did we do?
Various other fire precaution works were carried out at Nunnington Hall, including the upgrading of fire doors to form compartmentation of the building. We also supplied some additional electrical sockets to avoid the use of trailing cables and link sockets.
Why it was a success
This innovative way of using light tape to provide emergency lighting is the first known in the UK. The light tape works really well and the system has real benefits; for example, minimal impact on the historic fabric of the building.
During one Halloween at Nunnington Hall, the emergency lights were switched on. They lent an impressive ‘eerie’ atmosphere to the house for the visitors and guests who attended the Hallowe'en party.