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Chas Constructionline

Royal Gunpowder Mills

Watham Abbey, Essex

The Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey played an essential part in military history and national defence, as well as the development of explosives for use in civil industries such as mining and quarrying.  It started as a family business and grew to become a Crown property.  It is now a charity whose purpose is to conserve, manage, research and display the historical and archaeological heritage of its monuments, listed buildings and natural features.

When the Charity were given a Heritage Recovery Grant Clarity was tasked with upgrading their 96-seat Lecture Theatre.

A cost-effective LED lighting system was installed with two white-light zoom profile lanterns and four colour-changing PAR lanterns, hung from two internally wired lighting bars on each side wall.  Additional lanterns can be added to easily in the future if required and when funds allow.

Profile lanterns provide a hard-edged spotlight that can be used to light a specific area of the stage or set.  They can be defocused and used to provide a wash to the front of a stage.  They also have shutters to mask off areas that you do not want to light and most importantly they have an accessories gate which allows you to use irises and gobos to further enhance your lighting options.  

PARs are a versatile lantern with a fixed beam for providing light onto a stage, if you want to wash a wall or a cyclorama cloth, or if you want to provide punchy back or side lighting. 

A wall-mounted control panel was installed at the front of the theatre that allows simple lighting scenes to be set at the touch of a button.  This means anyone can use the pre-set scenes on the system without needing to connect a lighting desk.  With this control panel installed it also gives the option of operating the lighting wirelessly by an iPad, which Clarity customised to the Gunpowder Mills requirements.

A high-power 6000 lumen widescreen Panasonic laser projector was installed from the ceiling of the theatre to project onto the existing screen.  The projector has a laser life of 20,000 hours making the initial higher cost over a lamped projector worthwhile as the ongoing maintenance cost is much lower.  Laser projectors also appear up to 30% brighter than lamped projectors and over time lose their brightness much slower than lamped versions.

To complete this upgrading project the Gunpowder Mills were supplied with ten new outdoor loudspeakers to replace their old ones.

“Clarity designed and efficiently installed a state of the art system to give us a flexible projection and lighting system for our 100 seat theatre/cinema”Harvey Phillips, Royal Gunpowder Mills