How to change a Spinnaker Tower lightbulb…

Visitors are often intrigued about the Tower’s lighting – how many lights are there, what colours can the lights go and most of all, how do we change the lightbulbs?!

Enter Bernie Welch, the Tower’s Technical Services Manager. His job is to make sure that everything is shipshape and that includes changing our lightbulbs. But it’s not all hard work. The view that greets him as he changes the lightbulbs on the Tower’s ribs are pretty special. With some of the most spectacular views of the Solent, Portsmouth Harbour, Gosport and the Isle of Wight as his backdrop, Bernie, works to fully replace and service the external show light bulbs every two years.

The Tower has 50 bulbs. 22 of these are 150 watt bulbs which can be changed by one person but does involve navigating to many different parts of the building, including the ribs, in order to change them. The larger bulbs, of which there are 28 575 watt bulbs to change, have to be hoisted (manually!) and lowered into place carefully by an abseiling team.

In terms of colours, the possibilities are (almost) endless. Using filters in the 3 primary colours – magenta, cyan and yellow – in front of the lamps we can programme the lights to create any colour possible.

So, next time you’re near Portsmouth Harbour, you can now look out for our lighting and fully appreciate just what goes into making that lighting happen. See what we’ve got coming up in our calendar of lighting events – just click here to take a look.