16 Russell Street, City Centre, Bath
16 Russell Street is a Grade II late 18th century terraced townhouse, situated within the Bath conservation area and World Heritage Site. It forms part of a high concentration of individually-listed Grade II townhouses within the streetscape attributed to John Wood the Younger as part of a cohesive development around the Grade I Assembly Rooms. The terraces on either side of Russell Street remain cohesive in design and use of detail, with a shared Bath stone ashlar façade that symmetrically down from Rivers Street towards Bennett Street and the northern façade of the Assembly Rooms, although a series of later alterations including the insertion of tripartite windows at first floor level are evident along the southernmost dwellings within the terrace. Later changes are also evident in the varied mix of window fenestration designs between dwellings; the majority of dwellings on the eastern side, including No. 16, now implement single pane sash windows. Interestingly, the majority of traditional multi-pane (6-over-6) sash windows have been retained on those properties concentrated on the northern end of the western side.
There could be a question regarding the efficiency of the proposed mechanical extract fan where this would be located in the external wall of the “entrance lobby”, which functionally would most likely be closed off from the rest of the property via the principal door access into the hallway.
As part of this application, it is proposed “to replace all sash windows with like for like timber, single glazed replacements.” The existing single pane sash windows are most likely later post-19th century insertions and as such are not contemporary to the main building’s original construction or design. However, their age/origin and existing condition are unclear without further assessment as part of the Heritage Statement. It is also unclear as to the existing condition of the windows and why replacement is proposed (eg. deterioration of joinery). We therefore encourage submission of further information on this aspect of proposed works to ensure replacement of what may be 19th century windows, as such considered to be historic fabric (albeit of lesser significance in relation to the central special historic and architectural interest of the building), is suitably justified.
The proposed replacement of existing windows with single pane sashes would be like-for-like in fenestration style. However, we emphasise that there could be a positive opportunity for the restoration of a multi-pane window design more in keeping with the original design and appearance of the building and the wider terrace.
In light of the Climate Emergency and the cost of living crisis, there are also further opportunities for thermal improvement and retrofit where the principle of window replacement is established. We consider that there could be scope for replacement with slimlite double glazing of a quality design and profile appropriate to the appearance of a listed building and the wider group value of the terrace. This can be achieved through the use of an appropriate style of glazing bar thickness and profile to ensure the timber frame isn’t overly heavy or blocky in appearance. Alternatively, the proposed single-glazed replacements could be supplemented with an internal secondary glazing system where this would be of a reduced visual impact to the building, and would enable new single glazed windows to more closely emulate the fine fenestration details of historic windows in the area.