Skip to main content

How Selectaglaze is protecting ‘heritage artworks and objects of beauty’ at two museums in Listed buildings

Secured by Design (SBD) member company Selectaglaze explains how its expertise in designing and providing secondary glazing systems to Listed and historic buildings has helped to transform and improve the security of two leading museums – one in Bath and the other in the company’s home City of St Albans, Hertfordshire.

Both of these projects use Selectaglaze products that have met SBD’s Police Preferred Specification, which seeks to deter and reduce crime as well as building safer communities across the UK. This standard requires products to have gone through rigorous, independent testing and certification to demonstrate they are capable of resisting physical attack. Certification is key because it requires regular retesting and production audits to ensure robust qualities are maintained.

Museum and Gallery, St Albans
A project financed in part by the Heritage Lottery Fund, was set up to transform St Albans’ Grade II Listed former Town Hall, which had fallen into disrepair and was deemed to be no longer ‘fit for purpose’, into the St Albans Museum and Gallery.

Selectaglaze became involved in the restoration of the building, which dates back to 1830, following an approach by consultants to consider ways of improving environmental controls.

St Albans outside

Large tripartite single-glazed windows in the first floor Assembly Room offered poor thermal insulation whilst other windows required significantly improved security to meet Arts Council guidelines for inclusion in the Government Indemnity Insurance Scheme. This meant units had to meet LPS 1175 standards.

In addition, the window had to meet exacting conservation requirements to be as sympathetic as possible to the original design. Working with contractor Willmott Dixon, a sample window was produced for the Assembly Room. This was a three-part vertical sliding unit measuring 4.3m high x 1.7m wide. It was constructed with powder painted aluminium sections to match existing paintwork and 6.8mm low emissivity laminated glass. The finished installation was inspected and approved allowing the remaining windows to be treated.

St Albans inside

The room environment is now significantly improved. Low emissivity glass reduces heat loss by more than 60%, frame seals eliminate draughts and the laminated glass not only removes 99% of UV light, which can cause fade to fabrics and paintings, but also provides additional safety. Windows in other areas were treated with a certified security range using specialist glass.

The new state-of-the-art Museum and Gallery has become a vibrant cultural centre for the city and showcases more than 2000 years of ‘priceless heritage and contemporary artworks’ – just three miles from where Selectaglaze, is based in Alban Park, Hatfield Road.

Holburne Museum, Bath
Selectaglaze was approached to work on the Holburne Museum to upgrade its Ballroom Gallery, which houses displays that include silverware, porcelain and china collections, bronze statuettes and oil paintings, which hang alongside the room’s monumental sash windows and floor-to-ceiling balcony doors.

With windows to three sides, the Ballroom Gallery captures the sun throughout the day, presenting perfect viewing conditions but potentially detrimental to the sustainability of the exhibits.

Main contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine, consulted Selectaglaze about ways to provide protection from the sun’s harmful rays whilst achieving much-needed added security.

Holburne outside

Selectaglaze proposed a single hinged casement to each window incorporating anti-UV glazing. To provide an appropriate level of security to the windows, an SBD accredited multi-point locking system was incorporated.

Other design considerations included a paint finish to match the surrounding décor and maintenance of clean lines through the use of flush hinges and locks.

The result was secondary glazing that blended imperceptibly with the Gallery’s large windows and retained spectacular views across Bath. Additional advantages were the high level of sound insulation afforded by a double window system and the inclusion of a low emissivity coating to the glass, which markedly reduces heat loss – an important factor to reduce energy costs and manage environmental impact.

Holburne inside

The Holburne Museum was named after Sir William Holburne (1793-1874) who at the age of 11 took part as a midshipman in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). Following the horrors of his early life, he went on to collect objects of beauty, which were subsequently gifted to the City of Bath. In 1916, the ornate Grade I Listed 18th century Sydney House Hotel was purchased to accommodate the collection and became the Holburne Museum.

About Selectaglaze:
Founded in 1966, Royal Warrant Holder Selectaglaze operates in the highly specialist heritage and Listed Buildings marketplace. It has 23 glazing systems that meet Secured by Design’s Police Preferred Specification standard. They all provide a second barrier to entry with some high-performance systems achieving the same level of security as unsightly window bars and grilles and some protect against ballistic and blast threats too.

The industry standards that Selectaglaze has met in order to be SBD accredited include PAS24:2016, ISO 16933, BS EN 1522:1999 and LPS 1175 Issue 6 up to Security Rating 3.

It’s the role of Designing Out Crime Officers, attached to police forces around the UK, to work with architects, developers and local authority planners to ensure the right security product is used to match the threat level to any particular building. Security is important and can make a real difference. For example, when SBD standards are incorporated into new residential developments, crime has reduced by up to 87%.

Tel: 01727 837271