While our masonry team are busy at Spain’s Field, the joinery team have also been working hard to replace the old and rotting box sash windows at our Tearooms. This has taken a number of weeks as every window frame has had to be constructed, glazed and the sashes weighed to ensure that lead weights hung from the sashes provide the correct counter balance to allow them to be held open.
The word ‘sash’ is derived from the French ‘chassis’, meaning frame. However, sash windows have a long and noble history in this country. The earliest weighted box sash windows appear in 17th century country houses such as Chatsworth and Newby Hall, as well as in royal palaces such as Kensington. Some believe that the box sash was invented in the studio of the famous Christopher Wren, and sashes appear in the gallery of St Paul’s Cathedral and at his extension of Hampton Court. Wren loved the sash because unlike a the frames of a casement window which would project from the face of a building when opened, the frames of sash could be opened vertically and therefore did not disturb the appearance of the facade. The use of a timber frame and glazing bars instead of lead also allowed for larger quantities of glass to be used, letting more light into buildings. By the mid-Georgian period box sash windows were extremely prevalent and popular in British architect and remained so until the Art and Crafts movement of the late Edwardian era, which saw the revival of the casement window.