Installations within St Catherine’s Almshouses




Patricia MacKinnon-Day was commissioned to create a permanent installation on the site of the historically important Almshouses in Catherine Street. Constructed in 1450, the Almhouses had recently undergone structural repair and enhancements following an initiative by Land Securities, Exeter City Council and English Heritage to create an improved setting for one of Exeter’s most historic landmarks.


The installations use an eclectic mix of archaeological finds, fibre optic lights, industrial glass, and text to lead the visitor on a journey through the space, hinting at the multiple layers of its history. The intention of these artworks is to create significance from the ordinary.


Remnants of objects dug up from Glass doors, flickering lights and handwriting from the 17 century marked into porphyry stone marks a journey through the Almshouses. Traces are offered allowing the visitor to the space clues to the past. The glass doors offer part of a structure – there are no walls just doors. At night the chapel space is illuminated with flickering lights. The archeologically finds are also lit given the illusions of floating in space.


“ My work rests on the depth and detail of research I carry out on each site… with the almshouse doors the artefacts are displayed in chronological order, with the earliest finds at the lowest level right up to a squashed drinks can at the top, this being the last item excavated from the site.”


Patricia Mackinnon-Day


Patricia MacKinnon Day in collaboration with BDP Lighting received an Award of Merit for Marking Time The Almshouses, Exeter at the 23rd Annual International Association of Lighting Designers’ held in Las Vegas, Nev., USA. The award was presented in the Site/Façade category, one of four winning projects entered into this category. This year, 160 projects were submitted and 23 were recognized with awards