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Ely Cathedral

Safe and secure: Ely Cathedral turns to FWD-IP for CCTV system

Ely Cathedral

With the UK’s terror threat listed as ‘severe’ and attacks rocking European cities, security is naturally a foremost priority at popular British tourist spots.

Ely Cathedral, otherwise known as the ‘Ship of the Fens’, in Cambridgeshire is no exception. When its security cameras began to fail and the quality of images captured deteriorated, the cathedral’s senior management immediately turned to FWD-IP for a solution.

FWD-IP’s relationship with Ely Cathedral stretches back to 1992 when the company was first formed. FWD-IP has extensive knowledge of the building, having worked on various projects at the site, and therefore made the perfect partner.

Demanding requirements
Because Ely Cathedral’s existing CCTV system was built on a legacy infrastructure, i.e. older style analogue cameras, rather than a digital infrastructure a completely upgraded CCTV package was the preferred choice.

This included cameras to survey all areas of the premises as well as the surrounding grounds, dedicated servers to store the footage, plus video management software (VMS) to control and monitor the IP CCTV system.

Meetings between FWD-IP and the cathedral’s senior management revealed a number of challenges.

The first was the fact that Ely Cathedral is a Grade I listed building and laws protect its historical integrity. This means any physical changes must not compromise its appearance.  

However, FWD-IP were able to utilise capacity in the building’s existing fibre optic (backbone) cabling, which its team installed for a previous project and specifically left capacity for future additional services. This reduced the amount of necessary cabling for the new CCTV system, keeping visible building alterations to a minimum. In addition, FWD-IP’s discreetly placed CCTV cameras are well hidden, overcoming this challenge.

The second challenge was lighting. Ely Cathedral is an old building and dark in places, with various mood and spot lights creating a unique set of lighting conditions. FWD-IP overcame this by trialling different camera models in different positions over a two-week period to see which were most suitable.

CCTV installation
FWD-IP selected a full HD 1080p IP Sony CCTV system, complemented by two storage servers and a Sony operating system. FWD-IP enjoys an excellent working relationship with Sony, built and sustained over many years, so it was the natural choice.

The team designed and installed the new CCTV system in four weeks, managing the project to eliminate disruption to services taking place in the cathedral and visitors touring the building.

During the installation, FWD-IP held regular meetings with senior managers at Ely Cathedral to update them on how the project was progressing and address any queries or concerns, maintaining a first rate level of customer service from beginning to end.

Of course, throughout the installation FWD-IP ensured strict compliance with all relevant health and safety requirements.

A happy client!
“As always, working with FWD-IP was a pleasure,” commented Ely Cathedral’s technical manager, Richard Clover. “They are always professional and treat Ely Cathedral with the respect and dignity it deserves. The work was completed to a very high standard and on budget with no disruption to our day-to-day operations.”

He continued: “FWD-IP’s team is always willing to offer honest and impartial advice on all aspects of technology in use at the cathedral.”

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