History in the heart of Whitehall protected with the help of Selectaglaze

Nestled at the centre of the tourist trail stands the Banqueting House, with the likes of Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Trafalgar Square all a short walk away.

As part of the first phase of works to repair and restore this stunning Grade I Listed building, the large windows had to be tackled. Windows are often the most vulnerable part of a building therefore, security was high on the agenda when planning the works, along with reducing the noise from the busy street outside.

Inigo Jones designed the existing Banqueting House in 1619-22 after its predecessor was ruined by fire.  Since its creation, Banqueting House has observed countless historic events; from staging State events, masques, providing private drinking space for James I and in 1636 to display the great ceiling paintings of James I by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Legendarily, King Charles I was executed, in Cromwell’s time, outside the building in 1649 on a temporary scaffold specially built for the occasion.

Royal Warrant Holder, Selectaglaze, was asked to provide an appropriate bespoke solution that  provided protection to the large windows and was also an unobtrusive window treatment, to blend in with the historic Inigo Jones designed interior.

Selectaglaze 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 a success and planning for the installation began.

Installing the units provided an exciting 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 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 access of 45dB, the secondary glazing also provides essential UV filtering to the Thomson Specification approved by the National Gallery, V&A and others.

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

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.

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.

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.