Here's why Spinnaker Tower has gone dark at night and how long it will last

It has been lighting up the night skies for more than a decade.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 4:18 pm
Spinnaker Tower is upgrading its lighting system. Picture: Michael Scaddan
Spinnaker Tower is upgrading its lighting system. Picture: Michael Scaddan

But the Spinnaker Tower has now gone dark and the external coloured lights have been temporarily switched off – and it is all because of floppy disks. 

Bosses at the 557ft attraction revealed the current lighting system has been in place for 14 years and runs on floppy disk programming.

Over the years the Spinnaker Tower has been lit up for many good causes over the years, from private hire, gender reveals, weddings and charities. 

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Spinnaker Tower is upgrading its lighting system. Picture: Michael Scaddan

However the attraction has decided it is time to upgrade and has turned off the system while that takes place. 

It will be kept in the dark during the night for the next couple of months until the ‘all-singing, all-dancing’ lighting system is fitted. 

The lights are expected to be turned back on in November. 

Urbis Schreder, a company which has delivered iconic lighting systems across the globe, are in charge of replacing the lighting system at Spinnaker. 

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Ben Sutton, marketing manager for Urbis, said: ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity to continue to protect the original investment from Portsmouth City Council in the tower and continue to develop its legacy as a local landmark and we look forward to seeing the results.’

The new lighting system will feature LED bulbs which will increase the efficiency and lifetime of the lights there will also be a dynamic control system that enables real time interaction with the lighting.

The new system is also designed to support future proofing ambitions of PCC. 

The tower has three different types of lighting:

- Obstruction (more commonly known as aircraft) warning lights - These are the red lights that can be seen from all around the area and above – these lights never change colour.

- Feature lighting – These illuminate the base of the Tower, including the back, bottom of the bows and either side and bottom of the legs. These lights are white. This system is used alongside the show lighting system every day.

- Show lighting – The show lighting are the lights we can control to change the main colour that the Tower is illuminated. These are the lights we are referring to when we say ‘lighting the Tower’. They cannot be seen from as far away due to the nature of the lamps/light fittings used.  The show lighting comes on 15 minutes before sunset and switches off at 11pm.

Have you noticed that the Spinnaker Tower has gone dark?