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Article Date: 7th October 2019

Selectaglaze - Secure Secondary Glazing Helps Protect Returning Artefacts in C18th Castle

Selectaglaze Highcliffe Castle

Located between Dorset and Hampshire, sitting atop the cliffs at Highcliffe; is the Grade I Listed Highcliffe castle. It was erected between 1831 and 1835 by Charles Stuart, 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay and is cited as the most significant surviving house of the Romantic and Picturesque style of architecture.

The design, by a founding member of RIBA, William Donthome, included a lot of recovered carved Medieval stonework, which was shipped across the Channel for the project. The magnificent building incorporates more architectural fragments in the 18th Century French Style due to Lord Stuart becoming a Francophile, collecting stonework, stained glassed windows, 18th century French panelling, tapestries and books, during his time at the Paris Embassy. The most notable medieval French masonry brought to Highcliffe Castle from France is the Jesse Window of the Great Hall, which symbolises a family tree of Jesus. Dating back to 1547, the window came from St Vigor Parish Church at Roen, which was partially destroyed during the French Revolution. It is this, along with the Castle’s Gothic revival features and Medieval stonework that makes it look older than it is.

Highcliffe Castle was a family home until the early 1950s when it was sold to become a children’s convalescent home but was closed in 1952. In 1966, before the Castle was sold for redevelopment, a fire damaged much of the exterior. Another fire a year after the sale left it to ruin. It was not until 1994, that the phased scheme (which is still ongoing) to repair and conserve the building began. Funded by Christchurch Borough Council, English Heritage and the Lottery Heritage Fund, the objective of the current phase of work is to transform the East Wing into a dynamic Heritage Centre.

The latest restoration project known as ‘The Phoenix Files’ is being undertaken by Greendale Construction Limited. Once the east wing and historic kitchen is restored, visitors will again have full access to the castle. As part of the project, Greendale contacted Selectaglaze, the leading specialist in the design, manufacture and installation of secondary glazing for thermal and security solutions for the castle’s new exhibition spaces. This first required an overhaul of previously repaired windows as well as the conservation of existing exposed brickwork.

Working with Greendale and architects Rodney Melville and Partners; Selectaglaze provided the Castle with a bespoke solution to compliment the restoration of the rooms meeting acceptable museum standards and levels of; humidity, light and security. This will permit the return of most of the Marshal Ney furniture which is presently in the V&A Museum where Selectaglaze had installed secondary glazing units in the Henry Cole Wing.  As the castle is Listed, any security measures taken had to be sympathetic to the building’s elegance and historical significance. As secondary glazing is a discreet and reversible adaptation, it is ideal for Listed properties and can offer an unseen level of security to any property.

Selectaglaze installed 3 high security Series 85 2 – pane horizontal slider units, glazed with a 12mm Tecdur anti-bandit glass, which were certified to LPS 1175 SR2. Overall, the newly refurbished rooms are far better equipped to house objects of high value. The secondary glazing work has exceeded the castle’s security expectations, increasing the protection of the returning artefacts. Selectaglaze is proud to have been involved in a project that was not just about restoration, but also about creating a legacy for Christchurch; supporting an attraction that will support the local economy and overall visitor experience for those visiting the Borough.

“We enjoyed working with Selectaglaze on the Highcliffe project and are impressed with their service and security products.” Chris Cave, Contracts Manager, Greendale Construction Limited.

Selectaglaze is the leading specialist in secondary glazing, established in 1966 and Royal Warrant Holder since 2004.

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