16th March 2016

New Sight Given to Fairfax House…

In 1984, when the bricked-up grand Venetian window was finally reopened as part of the major restoration project of Fairfax House, the chairman John Shannon remarked that it was like giving an old man his sight back.

32 years on, our latest preventative conservation project helps take this a step further. Thanks to funding from the AIM (Association of Independent Museums) Preventative Conservation Grant, Fairfax House has just installed a new generation of solar blinds throughout the property. Using new technology and a high-performance perforated material, these blinds help cut the ingress of damaging light into the building to less than 9%, whilst at the same time remarkably enabling the outside world to be discerned. The opportunity was also taken to add UV absorbing solar filtration film to windows previously untreated in the kitchen and on the staircase where the central Venetian window allowed substantial amounts of UV light to flood into the building.

The results of the project have been dramatic and visually stunning. The woven semi-transparent sunscreen blinds now allow views to be seen from the windows where they have been excluded for years, giving a greater sense of place and context, and achieving better interpretation of this townhouse in its urban city-centre setting. Ultimately, this project has enabled an important step to be taken in the better management of the museum’s environment and ensuring the continued preservation and conservation of the nationally significant collection here at Fairfax House.