Westminster Abbey releases drone film of its hidden attic for World Architecture Day

Westminster Abbey today releases a drone film for World Architecture Day (2nd October 2017) which shows one of the world’s most iconic buildings as it has never been seen before. The film includes a trip up into the Abbey’s triforium, an elevated gallery or “attic” which is being transformed into a new museum and gallery: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, due to open in June 2018.

The film was produced for the Abbey’s #makehistory campaign to inspire members of the public to get involved with the creation of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries by donating towards the cost of the project. The video starts at the Abbey’s entrance: the west door and moves through the nave and side aisles to the high altar and then soars to the triforium, providing a tantalising glimpse of the roof space where the new galleries will be located. Once inside the triforium viewers see the beautiful leaded light windows and the deep vaults which were installed by Sir Christopher Wren when he was at the Abbey.

The video was made by aerial film specialist, Spider Films who are more used to working on Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows than in a medieval building. They built a bespoke ‘hexacopter’ for the Abbey, a six-propeller unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), nicknamed ‘Super61’, which needed to have an extra smooth flying ability to ensure there was no damage to the Abbey Church. Super61, weighing 6.5kg and 1 metre wide, is a radio-controlled two-man UAV operated by a pilot and camera operator. Filming took place after hours when the Abbey’s visitors and worshippers had left.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall said:

Westminster Abbey was built by the most skilled medieval craftsmen using the most modern techniques of their age. So it seems only appropriate that we should choose the latest technology to tell the story about the next chapter in the Abbey’s history.

Ben Shepherd from Spider Films said:

We were surprised but delighted to get a call from Westminster Abbey and feel very honoured that we were the first operators to fly a UAV in such a unique and historic building.

Over 95% of the funding for the galleries has already been secured from private benefactors and trusts but the Abbey has widened its appeal to all those that have an affection for the Abbey and would like to play a role in its next historic phase of its development. Westminster Abbey receives no funding from the Crown, Church of England or State so relies upon fundraising for major projects.

Donations to the #makehistory campaign can be made by text, via an online donations book or sponsoring a pane of glass in the new tower.

Watch the video

© 2017 The Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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