Chesters Roman Fort

TGA Consulting Engineers were commissioned by English Heritage to design and supervise the M&E services installations associated with the refurbishment of the Museum at Chesters Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland. The museum buildings, which are located on the site of the Roman Fort, are listed Victorian structures built to house/display various artefacts discovered at the fort. Through the refurbishment, English Heritage sought not only to improve the display of the artefacts, through improved lighting, but also to investigate measures which may improve the stability of temperature and humidity within the museum, for the benefit of the artefacts.

A high proportion of the artefacts on display in the Museum are stone alters which have been carved with inscriptions.   Erosion has resulted in the carvings now being relatively shallow making them difficult to see in anything but ideal lighting conditions.

TGA designed a new lighting installation, based on our experience of lighting similar objects in the British Museum, which causes the alters to be lit from an oblique angel thus accentuating the presence of carved writing.

Further, the lighting installation was intended to minimise the requirement for spotlighting and to reduce energy costs and the necessity for relamping by providing the majority of the lighting in the Museum using high efficacy fluorescent lamps.

The lighting was installed on a suspended track system which minimized the impact on historic fabric and which provides opportunities for wiring and locating other services, such as emergency lighting, CCTV and Intruder Alarms.

We were able to use our IES suite of software model the buildings and to assess the possible means by which the building’s thermal stability could be improved.

Our findings were discussed with the Client and the Architect and were used to direct the available budget to achieve meaningful improvements in the building performance within the constraints imposed by budget, programme, the nature of the building, ongoing energy use and the presence of bats in the roof spaces.