Project Details

Nottingham Castle – home of curious rebels is illuminated in new light


Set in a commanding position on a natural promontory known as ‘Castle Rock’ with cliffs 40 mtrs high to the south and west overlooking the Nottingham city skyline with stunning panoramic views across the south of the city. Nottingham Castle……the home of curious rebels bringing 1000 years of history to life at this world-class heritage site.

The original fortified Castle dates back to Medieval times, but the structure was largely demolished by the mid-17th century with a mansion built on the site in the 1670s by the first and second Dukes of Newcastle. This was burnt down by rioters in 1831 and rebuilt in 1870 to house an art gallery and museum which remains today. Known across the world as the backdrop for Robin Hood’s tussles with the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham, great battles, heroic sieges and the bravery to fight for what is right. Nottingham Castle is still a world-famous landmark and much visited attraction today.

Owned by Nottingham City Council, but operated independently by Nottingham Castle Trust, the Castle closed in 2018 for a £30 million major refurbishment opening its doors again in June 2021 whereby lighting the building’s external facades was a key consideration in the overall project.

Part of the redevelopment programme resulted in the requirement to replace the existing sodium fixtures that were positioned around the perimeter of the Ducal Palace building which were falling into disrepair and could no longer be maintained as a viable solution. The Council’s desire was to replace all the exterior Castle lighting with an energy efficient LED system that would give them a variable white and colour changing solution with external control.

As the Castle is such an iconic feature for the city that can be seen for miles due to its position, it was vital that the lighting was in keeping with the palace building. Another important consideration was the ability for the Trust to be able to have easy access to scheduled lighting control to highlight the façade in a white light, whilst having the ability to pre-programme colour options for specific calendar events and corporate branding for events held on the site.


On Event Production, the technical supplier for the local council’s City Hall building were asked by the Nottingham Castle Renovation project team working on behalf of Nottingham City Council to consult on renewing the Castle lighting. They were keen to replace the old metal halide lighting scheme with something that was brighter, better quality and more energy efficient whilst giving improved flexibility to light the Castle in different ways when in use for both public and private events.

As part of the £30 million cultural recovery programme, Anolis was successful in being selected as the lighting provider and x17 Divine 160s were commissioned due to their size, high lumen output, variable colour temperature control feature, coverage and dynamic colour mixing capability. The Divine 160s ensured a great spectrum of colours, from the richest saturates to the most delicate pastels, alongside robust reliability.

Due to planning and conservation restrictions the only option was to use the existing fixture positions around the perimeter wall. In selecting the Divine units, this also made the installation a lot easier as the fixtures have their own integral power supplies which avoided the requirement to run new mains power and control cables, therefore avoiding damaging the building.

IJF Lighting were instrumental in establishing the correct optics needed and location positions to obtain the best uniform coverage of the façade of the Castle whilst keeping to the tight restrictions and ensuring there was minimal light pollution into the sky and surrounding areas. Each Divine was fitted with a cowl to reduce light spill into the city skies.

Amptron Electrical Services designed a sturdy mounted bracket for each Divine fixture with their own power isolation for maintenance purposes and junction boxes to manage the power and data. Clever positioning was needed to maximise the coverage offered by x17 Divine 160s which are all in close range to the building. The Divine fixtures are controlled by a Pharos TPC and EXT system which has a custom touch screen for users within the Castle that can also be remotely accessed by the team at On Events without attending site.

Custom optics were needed for some Divine units to ensure the best coverage, especially those on the north side façade where the fixtures lighting the main wall are positioned on the roof of a lower section of the building. For additional flexibility, the Castle lights are running via Art-Net and can be connected to an external controller to synchronise with other events or systems if required. This also allows for alignment to other Council events in the city and lighting schemes for special events such as New Year’s Eve and the city’s annual Light Night event.

With the Castle being such an iconic landmark and historic feature for Nottingham that can be seen for many miles around the city centre and suburbs, it was vital that the lighting was in keeping with the recently refurbished palace building. The council now have the opportunity to transform the Castle and light the building to support different events and occasions which has been welcomed by the people of Nottingham and many of the visitors the Castle attracts from around the world every year.


The Client: Nottingham Castle Trust (ultimately handed back to Nottingham City Council on completion)

The Integrator: Amptron Electrical Services Ltd – appointed electrical contractor who installed the fixtures and cable infrastructure
On Even Production Co – Commissioning & Programming
IJF Lighting – Lighting design modelling

Location: Nottingham, United Kingdom

Product: x17 Divine 160 RGBW – Graphite Black with a top hat
Pharos TPC, EXT & RDM splitter was used to distribute the DMX control
system to allow for remote access and monitoring

Industry Sector: Historic Venue / Visitor attraction


• Variable white control – colour source options and precision optics resulting in a high output solution
• Dynamic colour range for specific calendar events and corporate branding aligned to both Nottingham Castle requirements and Nottingham City Council activity
• Fixtures all have integral drivers to utilise the existing power positions
• Choice of the Divine fixtures meant limited disruption and the avoidance of damage to the building with additional cables for installation – perfect for historic buildings and heritage sites
• Cost effective, energy efficient LED solution fulfilling key aim of the initial brief
• The fixtures are ruggedly constructed from high pressure die-cast aluminium with IP67 and IK10 impact protection ratings suitable for the external climatic conditions high on ‘Castle Rock’
• The Divine fixtures are lightweight and tiltable, locking super tight to handle high wind locations and exposed environments
• Specific custom optics were a key consideration to reduce light pollution and beneficial for the position of particular fixtures on the north side of the building to ensure best light coverage
• Simplified pre-programmed control for the client to use by an internal touch panel controller as well as remote system access

Photo Credits: Louise Stickland & Lindsay Cave

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