MAY 1, 2017

The Horsefair Project, Bristol.

Project Summary:

Location: Bristol
Sector: Architectural
Value: £16K
Duration: 6 Months
M&E Contractor: Ramboll (Bristol)
Client: Emtec (Bristol)
Architect: Percell Miller Tritton
Main Contractor: Beard Construction

The Horsefair Project set the vision for transforming the oldest Methodist building in the world into a 21st century visitor centre with modern educational facilities.

The mix of the old and the new make this project an efficient, yet visually attractive scheme with a bold architectural look.

Attracting over 25,000 visitors a year, John Wesley’s Chapel, The New Room is a place of rich historical significance and one of the main tourist attractions in Bristol.

A place of pilgrimage and the oldest Methodist building in the world, John Wesley’s Chapel is open predominantly as a visitor centre. A modern scheme enhancing contemporary architecture whilst connecting the old with the new.



With the vision of bringing the visitor’s facilities to a contemporary standard, The Horsefair project was setup to build a new exciting space at the back of the courtyard of the historic New Room, for the development of a new Heritage Museum.

Dating back to 1739, John Wesley’s Chapel, The New Room is the oldest Methodist building in the world and the first Methodist building licensed for public worship. From the offset, the Main Room was used as a place for education. To continue John Wesley’s legacy, the project’s aim was to create an exciting educational and resource centre with modern study facilities.


The Horsefair project features the new three-storey building attached to the existing Horsefair courtyard, offering facilities like; meeting rooms, catering and refreshment areas, and appropriate toilet facilities. The new building has a café and a shop on the ground floor, a library and archive on the first floor and The Horsefair room (a multi-purpose facility room on the second floor).  The new project also allowed for the expansion of the Museum in the room above the existing chapel. 


299 Lighting started working alongside the team of consultants at Ramboll in April 2015, with the actual building work commencing in January 2016. Our team assisted with the product specification for the visitor’s centre, supporting Ramboll with product samples and technical knowledge. 

By moving the offices, meeting rooms and library to the new building, the Horsefair project releases the entire upstairs of the 1748 building for use as a Heritage Museum. This additional space will transform the display and will enable the telling of the story of the Wesley brothers and their influence. 

"A product specification using daylight and bold architectural lighting."

The circular theme was carried through the design of The Horsefair room, where the architectural surface mounted luminaire Talla was specified. The 650 mm diameter luminaires were supplied with Dali dimming, opal diffuser and at 4000K. The white finish and random pattern of installation result in a very contemporary visual scheme.

The linear surface mounted profile, Lopen was specified in the archive and library space on the ground floor, creating a continuous line of light. Equipped with Dali dimming and opal diffuser, the Lopen is a clean-cut luminaire with outstanding efficiency.


The Lopen surface was also used in regular pattern for lighting the corridors and circulation areas.

The Horsefair project has been a long-term project with a timescale of over 24 months. The lighting was delivered in time for the official reopening of the New Room in June 2017. The result is a visually attractive scheme with varied lighting and contemporary design. John Wesley’s Chapel now has a new state of the art visitor’s center that reflects on its vision for the future.     

“Ramboll UK strive for excellence in all elements of the design, this was assisted by the great range of products meant, ensuring that the client’s expectations could be met. Support then through design stages, and on site was very good, and 299 were very helpful when on site queries and changes arose.”


Project in figures:

6 Months

From initial project brief through to delivery.


Dating back to 1739, The New Room is the oldest Methodist building in the world.


John Wesley's Chapel attracts over 25,000 visitors a year.

Like what you see?

Contact us! We would love to get involved.

Like what you see?

Contact us! We would love to get involved.