For over a year now, we have been working away at repairing and refurbishing the many sash windows at Letton Hall. It is slow and painstaking work and costly too, but the status of the Hall as a Grade 2* listed building makes it essential for us to do the work with care and attention to detail. Many, if not most of the windows were put in when Sir John Soane built the house! So, we are required to use the right materials, including beautiful new oak for sills and rails, the correct type of glass and special preservatives and paint that will protect the windows in the future. We can’t just replace everything with plastic, sealed unit double glazing and, to be honest, that would look terrible!
Add to that the need to complete this work whilst remaining open for business and keeping up with our other day-to-day work and you can imagine how challenging it can be. We offer our apologies to anyone who has stayed recently in a room with a temporary window, but many of the windows and sills are in a poor state of repair and it is vital that we do what we can to put them right.
Our friend Peter Felton, a specialist in sash window repair, has worked closely with our own Jon Horrox and Dave Walmsley to keep up a steady rate of work and several windows have already been beautifully restored, but there is a great deal more to do and the work will take years to complete. One of our outbuildings has been converted into a well-equipped workshop primarily for this and other woodwork projects and we are gradually learning the skills involved in the careful removal of windows and glass and their professional repair.
Funding this work is outside of the usual day-to-day maintenance budget and we have been helped by a generous grant from another trust and several kind donations to commence the work. Typically, a smaller sash window on the top floor costs around £240.00 to repair and refit – some of the larger arched windows on the first floor will be four or five times as expensive! We have launched an appeal for the repairs to the windows and any gifts, no matter their size are a real encouragement! You can visit https://my.give.net/Windowsappeal to see the appeal page.
Sometimes it seems we will never get to the end of the work, but along the way it is very satisfying to open and close windows that run smoothly in their frame and look beautiful to the eye.