Renovated steel windows stand out at Freemasons’ Hall

For nearly two decades, Steel Window Association member, Steel Window Service and Supplies, has been involved with work relating to the windows of Freemasons’ Hall, the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and the principal meeting place for Masonic Lodges in London. The latest project has seen the renovation of 15 large windows complete with leaded lights and coloured glass on one of the building’s main staircases.

Built between 1927–1932, the Grade II* listed Freemasons’ Hall is among the finest Art Deco buildings in England so, despite the very poor condition of the windows in the five-storey stairwell, it was important to salvage as much original fabric as possible. 

Following an initial site visit by Steel Window Service and Supplies, working drawings were produced and the windows were carefully taken out and transported to the company’s workshop. Here, the glass and window furniture was removed and labelled. Sadly, the original ‘medium universal’ steel sections had deteriorated beyond repair so had to be scrapped.

The nine-week renovation project saw Steel Window Service and Supplies manufacture new steel frames using W20 sections that closely replicated the original medium universal profiles. The frames, which are in a range of sizes with the largest around 1m wide by just over 2m high, were polyester powdercoated in RAL 5010 gentian blue to match the original colour.

Each of the leaded lights was repaired using as much of the original coloured glass as possible while matching in new rolled coloured glass where sections were missing or damaged. All the work was carried out using traditional lead cames and soldered joints. Where necessary, saddle bars, tied in with copper wire soldered to the cames, were incorporated to prevent the large panels flexing.

Incorporating a star within the design of the handle, the brass window furniture – including stays – was chemically cleaned and, rather than being polished, repatinated before reinstatement. The windows were fitted with either vertical or horizontal pivots and friction pivot cup hinges which allow up to 90 degree opening.

Mark Kennedy, head of maintenance and building projects, Freemasons’ Hall, comments: “The work Steel Window Service and Supplies has done is really excellent with great attention to detail and the coloured glass and leading looks really good. The windows were in a terrible state but now, if you go into the courtyard and look up, they stand out without standing out, just as was intended when the building was built.”

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