Thursday 14 March 2013

Inserted !

A short blog entry to celebrate the replacement of a drawing room sash window on the east elevation. This may look a deceptively simple operation, but actually involved much time, much money, and a number of firsts for the restoration project. This window is the first that has been "restored" rather than built from scratch. So while the starting point was an extremely unprepossessing object with a rotten bottom, there was enough existing fabric to justify the effort and follow good conservation practice here. The problem was convincing the window firm of this! :-) I was unable to persuade them on my own, but my architect is made of sterner stuff. At the end of the day, the company did a fantastic job, and even they admitted they did not think they could pull it off which is why they had wanted to start from scratch. The conservation does come in cheaper than a new window, by the way. 

The window is also the first of the largest windows in the castle to be installed. The photos do not give an impression of quite how large or quite how heavy these principal floor windows are. Removal and insertion of these sashes are major operations in themselves. My wish is that now we have established the principle, subsequent large windows will go in more quickly, and hope-against-hope more cheaply.

newly inserted sash window : outside view

newly inserted sash window : inside view

And it is with a somewhat wistful eye that I see the window is framing a slightly snowy scene as the icy-fingers of winter gradually retreat. Winter has taken rather too many curtain calls this year, and I am waiting for it to finally depart the stage for a full-on, hands-on Summer restoration season.


  1. Great to see the sight back in one of Balintore's largest eyes, and to know that as much of the original castle is staying within the fabric as possible. It must be nice to be getting some more light back into the place. I find the scale to be deceptive too - what you'd assume to be a normal-sized window from afar can often be the height of a person! But I love these large sash windows :)

  2. Thanks for your comment. It was depressing (but necessary) to board the place up initially - so the inside became a very dark underworld indeed. This windows is significantly taller than me. :-) It is amazing that this large window has such proportionately thin glazing bars (astragals), but the effect is one of elegance and unencumbered views.

  3. I was going to comment on those, but had no idea of the correct term for them! Much as I like Georgian windows, they can cut up a view considerably. One of the reasons I like Balintore's type of architecture so much is the generous windows with huge panes of glass. It was very dark when Andy showed me round a year ago, I look forward to seeing it become more illuminated another time!

  4. Great job! I'm sure it'll be a big watershed in the restoration once all the eyes are back in :)

  5. Just as Spring has it's moments of bringing in new life, so does this window of Light and just before the Spring Equinox. Perfect timing David!

    It's is a testament to the future of Balintore.
    May things go forward easily as the Castle returns to her beauty as the restoration continues.

  6. Hi David,

    My name is Martin Dalziel and I'm a reporter with The Courier in Angus.

    I'm keen to follow up the work you have been doing in a bid to restore the castle and it would be great to chat to you about it.

    If you would like to speak, please call me at our Forfar office on 01307 462003 or email me at

    Thanks in advance,

  7. Hello David

    do you have an email address I can reach you on? We would love to follow the progress of Balintore on Avocado Sweet, a Scottish based design and culture blog. Is this something you may consider? Great if you could get in touch. My email is

    best, Jane Livingstone