Tyne & Wear

St Nicholas' Cathedral tower in Newcastle lit after 40 years

Cathedral tower. Photo: The Cathedral Church of St Nicholas
Image caption The tower will be re-lit at a public service of blessing

The tower of St Nicholas' Cathedral in Newcastle is to be illuminated for the first time in decades thanks to a £20,000 donation.

The money, from the Fenwick Family Trust, will mean the cathedral's historic lantern at the top of the tower can be lit after being out of use since the 1970s.

The tower was built in the 15th Century and was originally used as a beacon for travellers from the North for many years.

It was also used as a lighthouse beacon to aid sailors navigating their way along the nearby River Tyne.

The Dean, the Very Reverend Christopher Dalliston, said: "As far as we can gather, the lantern was still in use as a beacon until the late 18th Century but once the town was lit by gas, it fell out of use.

"The lantern was lit by electricity in the sixties and possibly early seventies but then the lights fell out of use."

Cathedral staff worked with council officials and English Heritage to come up with a design to fit the existing church surroundings.

The new external lighting scheme will highlight the architectural details of the lantern and will have a balance of light and shadow to compliment the cathedral's structure after dusk.

"We are delighted that we are bringing it back into use once more.

"The tower has an important role to play in the history of the city and we hope that the initiative not only respects the past but also gives the lantern a modern feel.

"It will make for a stunning addition to the city's night-time landscape," said Mr Dalliston.

The re-lighting of the tower will take place at a public service of blessing with local dignitaries, on Tuesday 6 December.

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