Ainsley Gommon Architects


Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council, Museum Service


Birkenhead, Wirral



Date Completed

Autumn 2015

Development Overview

Following the successful completion of the second phase of works to the Priory, we worked with Wirral Museums service and Zumtobel Group to design and implement a museums lighting scheme for the Grade 1 listed north range undercroft which falls within the boundary of the Scheduled Monument Site. The undercroft contains a museum, explaining the sites rich history. The existing lighting was unattractive and extremely inefficient, utilising unsustainable fittings with low lux outputs which were expensive to run. The result was a dim, dingy, uninviting space, rendering the exhibits gloomy and underappreciated.

The new scheme replaces the old inefficient fittings with low energy LED lights, preventing overheating and reducing energy consumption. The main space is dramatically up lit from ground level, emphasising the vaulted construction of the undercroft. The cool tones of the LED’s highlight the warm colour of the sandstone, and provide a consistent light level around the walkways. The museum display cases, including the previously unlit site model, contain neat slim-line concealed fittings that provide an even wash of light, increasing the legibility of the exhibits. Due to the scheduled status of the site all the fittings were surface fixed to the wooden walkways, with no intervention to the main structure. Concrete boxes to house the main up lights were created to sit on the ground. All the works are completely reversible, safe guarding the scheduled monument.

Following the success of this project a further phase is planned to carry our repairs to the chapter house.