Heritage Windows – Riber Castle, Matlock
Design and manufacture of casement windows with highly bespoke system to deal with very high wind-loading pressures. Included thick timber sections with disguised moulded profiles, Neoprene gaskets, internal beading and extra-strength glazing tape. This project included a wide variety of shapes and sizes to meet the building dimensions.
Riber Castle is a 19th century Grade II listed country house overlooking Matlock, Derbyshire. It was built by local mill-owner John Smedley in 1862 as his private home. After the death of Smedley’s wife, the castle became a boys’ school until the 1930s. With the coming of WWII the Ministry of Defence used the site for storage. The MoD left following the war and the castle remained unused until the 1960s.
From the 1960s to September 2000 it was home to a wildlife park, until “Riber Zoo”, as it was known, was sold by the owner. The park was criticised for the treatment of the animals, and the closure was not without controversy. Activists even released several Lynxes which escaped into the wild, with regular sightings occurring in Matlock and Carsington to this day.
Ivan White, from Cross Tower Venture purchased Riber Castle and the grounds, and were planning a major redevelopment into luxury apartments. The castle had no roof or floors, let alone any windows. Not only that but it’s unique location and construction presented many challenges for all the contractors. Gowercrofts task of designing, building and fitting windows was especially difficult.
The location and the type of building presented other major challenges:
David Brown, Technical Director at Gowercroft Joinery, worked closely with Ivan to design a new interlocking beading system with an ingenious tapered tongue. This locks the beading into the sash, and can withstand the extreme wind loading. In the photo above, you can see five Gowercroft employees testing the strength of a trial unit – where the glass was secured only with our double-sided glazing tape; this is 700 pounds of sheer pressure. When backed up with our glazing bead system, these units will perform well for many years to come.
The challenge didn’t stop there. We also needed to get special gaskets and keeps to ensure that the windows were draught proof under the extreme conditions. Extra strength hinges were needed to carry the weight of the exceptional window size and the whole window had to be made to fit behind stone reveals inside the 4-foot thick castle walls.
To see Gowercroft Director, David Brown, explaining some of the complexity of the design process, please watch the video below.
Ivan White’s comments on working with Gowercroft Joinery:
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