Selectaglaze acoustic performance receives the plaudits at renowned Victorian venue

  • 22 Sep 2020

As part of a multi-million-pound project to restore a much loved theatre, Selectaglaze secondary glazing was installed to improve acoustic efficiency and sustainability to its original arched casement windows in the theatre.

The Grade II Listed Tamworth Assembly Rooms opened in 1889, to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and has been hosting professional events since. After years of service, the venue had fallen into a state of disrepair and closed its doors to the public in 2016.

Main contractor, Glasgow-based Novus Property Solutions, won the contract to carry out the extensive works to the building. The theatre was substantially refurbished and updated with its ornate historic features conserved.

New extensions were considerately designed and built to match the character of the existing building, creating more flexible spaces for the local community and performers to use.

A large amount of work was required to renovate the large arched casement windows in the main theatre area, which had been boarded up since the early 1970s.

They were blocked up to create black-out for theatre productions and provide some acoustic insulation, to prevent noise infiltration from the busy car park and bus terminal outside.

A solution was required to insulate the single glazed original arched casement windows, whilst ensuring that they could function properly and look aesthetically pleasing.


The Heritage Lottery funding stipulated and would only be granted on the proviso that the additional casement windows were openable. Novus contacted Selectaglaze to discuss the most sympathetic but practical options of secondary glazing to enhance the acoustic insulation. 

After site visits and design discussions, the Series 41 side hung casement was specified to the windows in the main theatre as it is a heavy-duty framing system ideal for large windows.

With the openings measuring around 2.5m h x 1m w, a robust solution was needed. One of the windows needed clearance to open over the side of the balcony seating platform.

This meant it was decided to split the opening by transom coupling a Series 43 demountable fixed light and Series 41 unit. The specification of this style offers full access to the outer window and is unobtrusive so as not to impede the view or introduce any new sightlines. 

The primary windows were refurbished, including the stripping of the over boarding, replacement of rotten joinery and full redecoration; then the secondary glazing installation could begin.

The timber sub frames were fixed back to the brick masonry without disturbing or damaging the existing lime plaster. These were specially designed with a 300mm wide flat surface at the centre of the soffit to allow for the positioning of motorised blinds, which were to be used to black-out the theatre during performances.

The installation of the noise insulating secondary glazed units with 6.4mm laminate glass was no easy task. The windows were approximately 4m from the ground and the units each weighed 93kg, so scaffolding had to be erected to facilitate the safe and secure installation. 

Jody Ross, Operations Officer, commented: “This theatre has been at the heart of the Tamworth community for generations and we wanted to make sure it stays that way.

“Not only has it been lovingly restored to its full Victorian glory, it has been significantly extended and modernised throughout and can now be used for a variety of purposes.

“With its new café, meeting and conference spaces and information centre, visitors can be welcomed through the doors during the day, as well as the evenings.

“Bringing light back into the auditorium was a key part of that and has transformed the look and feel of the theatre. We have an impressive and varied programme of entertainment, with some top name performers, to welcome audiences back to a Tamworth Assembly Rooms which is bigger and better than ever.”

The much-loved theatre can now embark on a new chapter in its history having been sympathetically enhanced and the historic features conserved which make it such a special building.


Alban Park,
Hatfield Road,
St. Albans,

Phone: 01727 837271
Fax: 01727 844053

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