Artist's impression of light projections on Coventry Cathedral and St Paul's Cathedral

Historic England lights up St Paul’s and Coventry cathedrals

Where Light Falls - spectacular, free light projections marking wartime courage during the Blitz - comes to London and Coventry.

Historic England, working with the Poetry Society and leading creatives Double Take Projections, invite you to Where Light Falls – a series of spectacular, free illuminations at St Paul’s Cathedral and Coventry Cathedral this autumn.

Where Light Falls tells the story of those who risked their lives to protect the places they loved during the Second World War, at two cathedrals with opposing fates – St Paul’s survived the Blitz largely intact whilst the medieval Coventry Cathedral could not be saved.

Stunning installations will transform the façades and precincts of St Paul’s Cathedral and Coventry Cathedral after dark, combining new poetry with powerful visuals and archive photography. Visitors will be immersed in atmospheric light and sound, unique to each location, as they travel around the buildings witnessing the poems unfurl.

During the Second World War brave civilians stood on the roofs of St Paul’s and Coventry Cathedral night after night, putting themselves in the path of bombs, to save the places that mattered to them. Almost 80 years on, knowledge of the lengths people went to to protect our built heritage is fading fast from public memory. Where Light Falls will help people re-discover this episode in England’s history.
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England

New Poetry

Two new works by respected poets Keith Jarrett and Jane Commane have been created for Where Light Falls, facilitated by The Poetry Society and in collaboration with community groups.

Local school children, refugees and migrants with lived experience of conflict, and older writers in both cities were invited to respond to photographs and accounts of the Blitz, and the heroic efforts of many individuals who fought to keep buildings from destruction, in workshops led by the poets. Their thoughts and creative responses steered the poets’ approach to the commission and fed into their finished work.

Keith Jarrett’s 'From the Log Book' will be projected at St Paul’s, and Jane Commane’s 'In A New Light' will be seen at Coventry Cathedral. Their words will be brought to life through cutting-edge projections, incorporating innovative graphics and archive photography in Double Take Projections’ unique style.

We are delighted to be working in partnership with Historic England on this project to shine a spotlight on the personal stories of people’s efforts to save historic buildings during the Second World War. The tireless work and substantial sacrifices of those who protected this Cathedral throughout that conflict ensured that St Paul’s would remain a beacon of hope and a place of welcome, worship and learning for generations to come. We’re proud to play a role in commemorating their brave and inspired efforts, alongside our friends at Coventry Cathedral.
The Very Revd Dr David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral
The evening of 14 November 1940 has shaped the message of Coventry Cathedral and the work that we now carry out across the world with our Reconciliation Ministry. As we head towards the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the consecration of the New Cathedral, we hope to excite new audiences about the heritage and history of both our sites, and their real significance for the future, in creative and joyful ways. To welcome this event with Historic England, St Paul’s Cathedral, the fantastic Double Take Projections and local partners is a true blessing. We are very much looking forward to telling the story of the Coventry people to all who visit.
The Very Revd John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry Cathedral

Loss and Destruction Season

Where Lights Falls is part of Historic England’s Loss and Destruction season of free events and activity. Throughout 2019 Historic England is looking at why our collective history and heritage is so important to us all, and why it needs to be looked after.

Cultural heritage is a valuable, tangible and authentic link to our past. It allows us to make memories and form identities, and its destruction often strikes at the very heart of communities.

The season includes What Remains, a free exhibition jointly curated in partnership with Imperial War Museums at IWM London (until 5 January 2020) as part of Culture Under Attack. It explores the deliberate destruction of cultural places, the objects and stories that bring them to life, and the rebuilding of culture that follows.