Chubb has installed a security intruder alarm system designed specifically for sensitive environments into Rochester Cathedral. This advanced system will help secure some of the UK’s oldest and most important artefacts. Chubb, a leading provider of security and fire-safety solutions, is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
First built in 604 AD, the Rochester Cathedral in Kent is the second oldest in England. It is home to the Textus Roffensis, the oldest example of English written law, which dates back to the 10th century and the creation of the English State.
The security tender followed a Heritage Lottery Fund grant as part of the Cathedral’s “Hidden Treasures Fresh Expressions” project. In addition to the restoration of its library and strong room, the project saw the creation of a secure exhibition space within the medieval crypt.
“Primarily, the Cathedral is a place of worship,” says Colin Tolhurst, head verger at Rochester Cathedral. “We needed a discreet security system that would be respectful of its religious setting while also helping us to protect a high-value exhibition that is extremely important to England’s heritage and set to attract large visitor numbers.”
Morgan Flynn, senior security installer/commissioning engineer at Chubb, says the building’s age posed considerable challenges: “The present Cathedral dates back to 1080, necessitating an entirely bespoke approach. No drilling of the stonework was permitted, sensors and switches needed to be hidden from visitors, and the quarter-tonne steel doors and ornate, leadlight windows required sensitive design and installation.”
Following a risk assessment, Chubb installed the sophisticated Grade 3 intruder alarm system, typically found in the most high-risk environments such as banks, art galleries and museums. Chubb worked closely with the specialist architectural design team to ensure the products installed were appropriate to the building’s age as well as effective in their delivery. The installation includes pressure switches and sensors on artefacts, windows and entrances that trigger an alarm if disturbed.
An access control system was also installed, enabling staff greater freedom of movement and creating a more secure environment for visitor activities.
“The Cathedral is also used as a venue for concerts, university graduations and television programmes such as BBC’s Flog It. Chubb’s proven heritage experience and excellent relationship with the design team was extremely beneficial to this project,” adds Tolhurst.