24 The Hexagon, Kempthorne Lane, Odd Down, Bath
24 The Hexagon is a residential apartment which forms part of what was previously St Martin’s Hospital, a Grade II early 19th century hexagonal complex by Samuel Kempthorne which was formerly in use as the Bath Union Workhouse until the 1930s. It was later operated by the NHS as St Martin’s Hospital. It is situated within the Bath World Heritage Site and the indicative townscape setting of the Bath conservation area, the edge of which stops just before the Wellsway/Midford Road junction. The site as a whole is a substantial and unique aspect of Bath’s later, 19th century heritage, including the adjacent Grade II St Martin’s Chapel which also originally formed part of the Workhouse complex. The central hexagonal structure remains largely homogenous in appearance with plain 3 ½ storey frontages in Bath stone ashlar and regularly spaced window openings. A number of these windows appear to have been replaced at a later date, with a proliferation of different window types and styles unoriginal to the building, including a number of Crittall and uPVC casement windows. Windows would have originally been “glazing bar sashes, some pivoted, many of which remain” (Historic England).
We therefore welcome the opportunity for the refurbishment and retention of the existing sash windows, in keeping with the original material and architectural integrity of the listed building. We recognise the need for the replacement of the warped windows as identified; where existing windows are identified as non-original, this would result in no loss of historic fabric and would be outweighed by public benefits including the improved condition and appearance of the building.
We are supportive of the proposed replacement windows where these are demonstrated to appropriately replicate the established fenestration pattern and glazing bar profile of surviving timber sashes across the east and west elevations of this part of the building to ensure a coherent and uniform appearance.
Further information as to the location of the identified three original glazing panes in relation to the wider scheme, such as on the provided annotated floor plan, would be helpful to illustrate how these may be affected (or at all) by the proposed works.
In light of the declared Climate Emergency, we question whether there could be an opportunity for the installation of slimlite double glazing in place of the warped windows as a more thermally efficient alternative. The suitability of this retrofit would be dependent on the provision of suitable sections and details, particularly in relation to the proposed glazing bar profile and thickness. Lower impact alternatives could also be considered, such as implementing draft proofing works in both the replacement and refurbished windows.