Bristol Cathedral undergoes visual and security enhancement with Sony

Bristol Cathedral is benefiting from a new IP surveillance system from Sony and Ten Ten Systems to improve security monitoring in the face of persistent theft, vandalism and a limited viewing experience.


Historically an Abbey, which has since been redesigned and reconstructed, Bristol Cathedral was established in 1140. Along with being a fully functional house of worship, it also serves as a popular tourist attraction, with a total of 25 staff members. Over recent years, a growing area of concern for the Cathedral was the increasing occurrence of theft and vandalism. It needed a video security solution that could enable them to monitor the grounds of the building in its entirety, both preventing further instances and providing sufficient evidence to support the crimes that did occur. The Cathedral also required a visual solution to counteract limited viewing issues in the main procession area.


Bristol Cathedral had previously operated a 10-year-old analogue CCTV system, linked to a single 7” monitor, which proved to be limited in effectively managing and controlling criminal incidents on the premises. As a result, the Cathedral regularly suffered from vandalism and theft of lead from the roof, where subsequent costs ran into the thousands. Without a high quality video security solution, Bristol Cathedral also struggled to get a sufficient sight of visitors as they entered the building, which inhibited their ability to monitor for suspicious individuals entering the premises.

Also, due to the floor plan of the main worship area, a portion of the congregation was subjected to a limited view of the main altar area, where processions took place.

Why Sony Were Selected

Ten Ten Systems knew that Sony could offer the cost-effective and easily integrated solution that the Cathedral required. Sony’s heritage in the video security space, combined with the robustness and quality of its solutions, was a key reason for choosing the manufacturer. “With its unparalleled high quality IP surveillance vision and solid back-up support, working with Sony was a really easy decision for us”, added Steve Birks.

Sony Solution

Bristol Cathedral required a bespoke and high quality IP security solution that could achieve two main functions. The venue needed security monitoring for all core areas of the Cathedral, both internally and externally, allowing staff to record sharp, clear recordings to be used as appropriate for reference or evidence. In addition, there was a requirement for the cameras to send images to LCD TVs located at areas of limited viewing, allowing Cathedral staff to mobilise the camera to follow live services taking place.

They consulted with expert I.T. integrators Ten Ten Systems, based in Cheshire, to install ten Sony SNC IP CCTV cameras to be located both inside and outside the Cathedral, configured in a Network Video Recorder (NVR). Three Sony SNC RH124IP cameras were also installed and connected to ten 50” LCD screens to allow the Cathedral staff to use the cameras in a full 360 degree rotational area with a 30x optical zoom combined with full HD capabilities, producing an optimum level of image quality.

In addition to sharp, HD quality images, the IP solution delivered multiple streams together with both FTP file transmission and wireless transmission. Commenting on the future-proof surveillance solution, Steve Birks of Ten Ten Systems, said: “We worked closely with Bristol Cathedral and Sony to provide a very unique installation which would increase the security of the cathedral, as well as enhancing the audience’s view of proceedings. We chose IP as a solution for Bristol Cathedral due to the requirement for High Definition images and flexible system access. It gave us the ability to choose compression options and allowed us to fit the system to the specific needs of the Cathedral.”


Sony’s tailored IP solution has given Bristol Cathedral full control over the security of the historic premises. Since implementing the Sony solution they have been able to use recorded evidence to prosecute and convict, following incidences of theft of lead from the Cathedral roof. In the first weeks since the solution went live, the improvement to the visual experience of processions has also enabled the Cathedral to facilitate for an increasing number of concerts and presentations.

Andrew Phillips, Chapter Clerk at the Cathedral, added: “We needed to achieve very particular enhancements here and had no idea of how to do so. Thanks to Sony’s smart and dependable technology and Ten Ten System’s expertise, we not only have a high quality visual solution within the Cathedral, but we have peace of mind knowing the building is fully secure. We are 100% confident in the reliability and the longevity of the installation.”

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