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Article Date: 3rd November 2016

Selectaglaze - History in the Heart of Whitehall Protected with the Help of Selectaglaze

Banqueting House - Security Windows - Secondary Glazing - Casement Windows

Selectaglaze - Banqueting House

Banqueting House, Whitehall, is situated at the heart of the tourist trail with Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street and Trafalgar Square all a short distance away.

The security window installations were part of the first phase of works to repair and restore this striking Grade I Listed building. Security was high on the agenda when planning the works, along with reducing the noise breakthrough from the busy Whitehall thoroughfare.

In 1619-22 Inigo Jones designed the present Banqueting House, after its predecessor was destroyed by fire. Since its construction, Banqueting House observed many historical events; its principal use was to stage State events, masques, provide private drinking space for James I and in 1636 to display the great ceiling paintings of James I by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Famously, King Charles I was executed, in Cromwell’s time, outside the building in 1649 on a temporary scaffold specially built for the occasion.

Banqueting House still contains the only surviving in situ ceiling painting series by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, a breath-taking canvas masterpiece commissioned by Charles I to commemorate his father’s life – King James I. The painting depicts the Union of the Crowns, The Apotheosis of James I and the Peaceful Reign of James I. Banqueting House is also the only complete surviving building left of Whitehall Palace, which burnt down in 1698.

Royal Warrant Holders, Selectaglaze, was asked to deliver an appropriate tailored solution that not only offered protection to the large windows, but was a subtle and unobtrusive window treatment, to blend in with the historic Inigo Jones designed interior.

Selectaglaze knew it had products certified to the requirement, but they had never been specified to these sizes. The Main Hall window openings were 3.6m high and 2.0m wide. Two years ago, testing was carried out for what turned out to be the largest ever single casement to be blast tested in the UK. The results were an accomplishment and planning for the installation began.

Selectaglaze - Banqueting HouseInstalling the units provided an interesting challenge as half the openings were at upper gallery level 10m above the main floor. The gallery could not be loaded. Working very closely with Gardner & Theobold, structural engineers Hockley & Dawson and Royal Warrant holding scaffolders Allen and Foxworthy, a careful method of installation was devised involving a columnar scaffolding design complete with lifting apparatus to each opening. In all, 39 units were installed.

The secondary glazing replaced the blast net curtains and once again allows daylight to flood into the Main Hall, as well as providing a significant level of noise insulation to ensure visitors peace and tranquillity when viewing the Rubens.

"The windows look great, I bet you never thought you would hear me say that!" commented the architect. As well as offering blast protection and noise insulation in excess of 45dB, the secondary glazing also provides essential UV filtering to the Thomson Specification approved by the National Gallery, V&A and others.

Secondary glazing is fitted to the room side of a building and is a completely independent and fully reversible adaptation, widely accepted by most heritage bodies.

Banqueting House is managed and cared for by Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that also cares for the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington State Apartments, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.

Selectaglaze is the specialist in the design, manufacture and installation of secondary glazing. With fifty years’ experience, it has worked on all building types, from new build hotels, to Listed museums.

For further information, literature and test results, please contact Selectaglaze by using the email option below:

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