070615.Bathwick, Cleaning Great Pulteney Windows

June 15, 2007 at 12:28 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bathwick, Chisel Marks, people, somerset, Window | 4 Comments

Here is the necessary maintenance on the great windows of Great Pulteney Street, c. 1793. (Designed by Thomas Baldwin and considered one of the Georgian masterpieces of Bath. It’s also one of the widest, grandest streets in the country) I’ve seen this process now twice. The washer rod can reach a window fifty-feet up but with height comes necessary distance. I overheard a woman seeking the process on her windows only to be turned down since the back alley didn’t provide enough space to extend the rod.

(Coincidentally, my professor used to own #26 Great Pulteney Street, he commissioned a model of it built for the Buildings of Bath Museum. I’ll post photos of that shortly.)

The rod is quite heavy requiring it to lean on the window it is cleaning. Wind is also a factor on the ability to clean the window. You can see from the water marks dragged across the Bath stone ashlar wall that the rod is simply moved across the wall until it is lowered to begin the next level of windows.

Sash windows cannot be cleaned from the inside and the alternative involves hanging out the window or running along a cornice line (above right). I’ve seen the use of ladders on more isolated streets with less important structures. So you choose. The windows on Great Pulteney Street are typically cleaned once a month.

Glazing Bars on this window and in the rest of Bathwick are (more or less) unique in the Georgian period, they are Keel Moulds. (I may be wrong about this, they are found in later developments around Bathwick.) These are highly pointed, typically found on shopfronts. They are named thusly by Gus Astley due to its similarities to the medieval masonry columns of the same name.
(The final window is from elsewhere in Bathwick with the Kneel Mould glazing bars.)


Essentially, as the Georgian Era progressed, glazing bars became thinner, and lights became bigger. Originally, there would be nine over nine lights on a typical sash window, then nine over six, then six over six, until Victorian plate glass began replacing sash windows.


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  1. I wonder how they get up to the sashes? It would seem that the dirt would pool there and dry leaving them dirty around the bottom of the sashes. It is a nice set of photos and a very interesting narrative with them.

    Abraham Lincoln
    Today you will get to see the baby raccoons…
    Brookville Daily Photo

  2. oh i could do with one of those to clean my….toes

  3. I published a similar photo last year. Here’s the weblink: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3005/2606/1600/IMG_0532.jpg

    I guess great photographers must think alike!

  4. Looks like fun. Are they hiring?

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