JW Lighting Specialists was established in 1975 under the name of PM Restorations as a family business manufacturing quality traditional lighting. It changed ownership from father to son in 1999 and became JW Lighting Specialists. Since then the company has grown to become the South Coast’s leading lighting manufacturer; specialising in manufacturing of traditional lighting, and a leader in restoration of lighting and street furniture. Over the years JW Lighting Specialists has been involved in many projects both new build and restoration, bringing a high standard of work to every job undertaken. The most recent of restoration works completed by JW Lighting Specialists was the refurbishment of four lanterns from the Leeds Town Hall dating back to 1858.
The Town Hall itself was designed by architect Cuthbert Brodrick and opened by Queen Victoria in 1858. The original design was altered before the opening to incorporate a grander tower and has been renovated several times since its completion. In 1864 the steps were altered to incorporate a curved design; and then in 1937 they were changed back to the original straight design. In the 1970’s a project was undertaken to remove the industrial soot and grime that had coated the Town Hall and the building was found to have an attractive honey coloured appearance. In all this time the lanterns outside the main entrance were not touched.
Once the decision had been made to refurbish the lanterns an electrical contracting company Wheelhouse & Noble were tasked with the job of finding a suitable company to carry out the restoration. Wheelhouse & Noble were established in 1973 and are therefore no strangers to lighting industry so after some research they contacted JW Lighting Specialists to complete the works. JW Lighting specialists was chosen to complete the works based on recommendations from satisfied customers and their reputation as specialists in the area of restoration.
The actual restoration work involved the removal of the lanterns from site and transportation to the JW Lighting Specialists workshop in Southampton. There each lantern was hand stripped of putty, glass and paint. The parts of the framework were then manufactured or repaired to make the lanterns whole again as they were in a very poor condition. Brand new panels of glass were individually manufactured and curved to fit each lantern by a local company that JW Lighting Specialists have used many time in the past for specialist jobs. After this the lanterns were polyester powder coated black with the frills and crowns painted gold. Each glass panel was then fitted and sealed with a special flexible bond and seal technique and the lighting control gear was upgraded to meet modern standards. Once complete the lanterns were taken to site, reinstalled, internally wired up by JW Lighting Specialists and then finally commissioned by Wheelhouse & Noble.