Fairfield Halls

Fairfield Halls

Dernier & Hamlyn’s expertise makes light work of Fairfield Halls’ refurbishment

We manufactured and restored almost 200 lights as part of the £30 million renovation of Fairfield Halls in Croydon led by MICA Architects.

Building services engineers Max Fordham led the lighting scheme and appointed Dernier & Hamlyn. Our team of craftsmen manufactured three two-tier chandeliers some 5.4m long for the hall’s sun lounge foyer. These stunning pieces reinterpreted original designs using black and white photography from the venue’s early days for inspiration. Each chandelier has 20 conical opal glass shades and their metalwork features 24 metal rods and balls finished in shades of silver and cream to complement the concert hall’s lighting.  Above each chandelier is a metal ceiling plate, which houses control gear for the dimming system. This required painstaking and lengthy testing by their technical team to ensure it functioned in line with the varying light levels required in this event space.

Our renovation specialists were called on to bring 8 concert hall chandeliers up to current electrical standards. Due to their size they were dismantled on site and taken to our workshop where they were stripped back to their original metal finish and powder coated in period appropriate colours. Replacement glass shades were handmade and fitted. And to complete the restoration, hundreds of crystal elements were sourced and fitted to the conical cowls above the shades as they had been on the original fittings, but which had disappeared over time.

We also manufactured 44 semi-recessed downlights for the concert hall’s houselights to replicate previous lighting using 1960s photography of the venue as reference material.

Initially we were also asked to renovate 139 recessed lights. However, when removed it became evident that they were beyond reasonable repair. New lighting was manufactured to sensitively recreate the original fittings, while incorporating LED technology, which had to be sourced and extensively tested to ensure it worked with the theatre’s specialist dimming system.

Also made in our London factory were U-shaped twin armed wall lights fitted with conical opal shades to replicate similar lighting that was in the concert hall’s boxes in the 1960s.

Magnus Wills from MICA Architects says: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with Dernier & Hamlyn’s craftsmen. They took time to really understand the brief and what we wanted to achieve and the proximity of their operation to Fairfield Halls gave them a close link to the project which was an added advantage.”

Neil Chandler, Venue & Artistic Director at Fairfield Halls says: “Our sun lounge has been returned to its 1962 elegance with the reinstallation of three chandeliers, replicas of the original design.  They are a real centrepiece to the new Arnhem Foyer space and totally transform the welcome our visitors receive as they climb the main staircase.  In our world class concert hall, the original chandeliers have been refurbished, completing the heritage make over.  They are beautiful timeless pieces that as custodians of the halls, BH Live will gladly take care of.”

Greg Allen-Hirst, Head of Building and Technical Services at Fairfield Halls says: “It was fascinating to be able to visit Dernier & Hamlyn’s factory and see first-hand the progression from drawings and archive photography to the finished, high quality, handmade lighting.”

Nick Cramp, senior partner – lighting, at Max Fordham says: “Max Fordham and Dernier & Hamlyn had worked together for over 20 years before teaming up for the restoration of Fairfield Halls.  What makes D&H stand out is the vast knowledge they bring to our projects. This comprises not just their skills and experience in design and manufacturing, but also their deep understanding of the heritage of lighting and the care and dedication with which they go about their work.  Our clients at Fairfield Halls were delighted to be able to work with a local company who has done so much, through their long-standing commitment to training young craftspeople, for Croydon. For us D&H was an easy choice as we trust them completely to deliver excellent results in a fair and open way.”

Photo Credits: Noel Yeo and Croydon Council


Max Fordham