The perfect acoustic and thermal solution for a Listed watermill

    The Grade II* Listed Sacrewell Watermill near Wansford, Peterborough dates back to around c.1730, although there are suggestions that the Romans were utilising water at Sacrewell hundreds of years earlier. The present watermill remained in full working order until 1965.

    Sacrewell Mill reopened in July 2015 after a £1.8 million restoration and conservation project that was backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the William Scott Abbott Trust. Cambridge architecture firm Purcell oversaw the restoration of the watermill, also adding a learning centre to the site, to make it a local attraction. The mill and mill house have been dressed and decorated throughout to reflect Victorian and Second World War working conditions, using the testimonies of people who worked at the mill during both periods, which were found during extensive research. The William Scott Abbott Trust £1 million contract was awarded to Tinwell-based conservation and restoration builders Messenger Construction, after a tender process against other specialist building firms from around the UK. Messenger worked to restore as many original features of the mill as possible including the installation of a £40,000 waterwheel incorporating a hydro-electric turbine.

    Commenting on the restoration, project officer Jane Harrison of the William Scott Abbott Trust said, “The project is a great opportunity to work together to ensure this nationally significant building remains operational for future generations.”

    Part of Messenger’s remit was to improve the acoustic and thermal environment at Sacrewell. The existing windows suffered from significant heat loss due to their age. Furthermore, the Listed status of the building meant that these windows could not be replaced. Messenger construction chose Selectaglaze, the leading expert in secondary glazing, to deliver a bespoke solution which retained the existing primary windows, yet upgraded their thermal and acoustic performance. Selectaglaze worked closely with Purcell to design solutions that would work with the existing architecture of Sacrewell.

    Selectaglaze installed a total of 8 units in the kitchen, dining room, living room, corridor and bathroom of the watermill, bringing the spaces up to modern standards. The windows were treated with a combination of Series 10 2-pane horizontal sliders and Series 10 3-pane horizontal centre sliders, set to match the original window’s sightlines. The Series 10 horizontal sliding secondary windows are a versatile and slimline system that allows easy access to the outer window.

    The original plaster reveals were full of character; some were splayed and most were neither plumb nor true. Purpose made joinery grounds were produced and carefully installed to ensure the closest of fits was achieved with the secondary glazing.

    Toughened safety glass with a low emissivity coating was used throughout all the rooms, which in combination with the existing primary window achieved a U-value of 1.8, thus reducing heat loss by around 60%. In addition, the installation of secondary glazing provided a significant reduction in noise egress and ingress as the windows were individually measured and manufactured to ensure the closest fit possible.

    The restoration of this historically important building has been a great success, with Sacrewell Watermill winning RICS East of England Project of the Year in 2016. The mill, which before the restoration was on Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register, also won awards in Building Conservation and Tourism and Leisure. Commenting on its website RICS said: “Our judges felt Sacrewell Watermill was this year’s worthy winner of the accolade as the project exemplifies the objectives of the RICS Awards.”

    Royal Warrant Holder Selectaglaze has been established for fifty years and in that time gained extensive experience working on all building types. The secondary glazing units are fully reversible, so are approved by most Heritage bodies for use on Listed buildings. Selectaglaze works meticulously with clients to ensure their buildings are warmer, quieter and safer.

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