Highcliffe Castle security heightened ahead of returning exhibits

by Jake

Nestling on the border of Dorset and Hampshire, sitting atop the cliffs at Highcliffe; is the Grade I Listed Highcliffe castle. It was built between 1831 and 1835 by Charles Stuart, 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay and is arguably the most important surviving house of the Romantic and Picturesque style of architecture.

The design, by a founder member of RIBA, William Donthome, included a lot of salvaged 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.

Highcliffe Castle stayed 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, prior to the Castle being 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 goal 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, who won the tender. Once the east wing and historic kitchen is restored, visitors will have full access to the castle once again. As part of the 18-month building 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 closely 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 allow the return of most of the Marshal Ney furniture which is currently in the V&A Museum where Selectaglaze previously installed secondary glazing units in the Henry Cole Wing.  As the castle is Listed, any security measures taken had to be sympathetic to the buildings elegance and historical significance. As secondary glazing is a discreet and reversible adaptation, it is ideal for Listed properties and can provide 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 renovated 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 lasting 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

Founded in 1966, Royal Warrant Holder Selectaglaze has grown its reputation as a leading secondary glazing specialist offering high performance noise insulation, improved building energy performance, environmental control and certified security.

For further information, please contact Selectaglaze on 01727 837271/e mail: enquiries@selectaglaze.co.uk or visit: www.selectaglaze.co.uk

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