Whittinghame House – Whittinghame, East Lothian

Whittinghame is a small conservation parish in East Lothian. In the early 1800s, James Balfour commissioned James Dorward to construct Whittinghame House designed by Sir Robert Smirke. The house was eventually completed in 1817. This became the family home of the Balfours and birthplace of Prime Minister Arthur Balfour (in office between 1902-05).

During the Second World War, the house was converted into a school for Jewish refugee children coming to Britain through the ‘Kindertransport’. This was an organisation established by Nicholas Winton who helped rescue 669 Jewish children from occupied Europe. Four of these children later became Nobel Prize winners.

During the 1960s Whittinghame House became an independent school for boys before eventually being developed into private apartments.

Hermitage Windows was commissioned to restore 22 sets of original wooden shutters. These shutters had been painted shut since 1983 and had suffered from warping, rotten and damaged timber.

Each set of shutters and internal leaves (some sets contained eight internal leaves each) were carefully removed and transported them back to our workshop.

The next stage was to remove all the many layers of paint that had built up over the years. This enabled the team to assess the condition of the timber more accurately and repair or replace any rotten or damaged timber sections. Once the shutters had been repaired, they were then sanded down to create a smooth finish. The shutters were then painted with four coats of microporous paint.

As the property is category A listed, all the original ironmongery had to be retained. This was carefully removed and polished up to reveal the beautiful brass work that lay beneath before being reinstalled.