HUNDREDS of military veterans at the iconic Royal Hospital Chelsea are now living in more comfortable conditions, thanks to a Halesowen glazing firm.

Storm Windows was called in by architects who had the task of improving the accommodation block, without damaging the appearance or heritage of the Grade I and II listed building, that dates back to 1682.

As part of the £13million refurbishment, the firm, which is based in Park Lane, had to find ways of making the windows draught-proof and noise-proof, without changing their appearance.

Storm’s technical director Mitchell Reece, said: “It was a big challenge, but one the team was happy to take on.

“We already have a good reputation for fitting secondary glazing to historic or listed buildings.

"So even though this was on such a large scale and such an iconic building, we knew we would be able to help.

“We were called in to help by Peregrine Bryant Architects back in 2010. They had to find a way of making the dormitories warmer and quieter, without detracting from the look of the building and the original windows."

He added: “Initial designs were rejected and new designs had to go through rigorous testing and numerous stages of approval until the final go-ahead was given.

“One of the problems was that the English Heritage experts were not happy that if you looked up at the first-floor windows, a reflection could be seen in the glass.

"We did some research and found reflection-free glass manufactured in Germany, which was imported specially for the project.

“The new unit design also allowed for the windows to be fully opened, which wasn't possible before."

Halesowen News:

Pictured: Apprentice surveyor and fitter George Homer takes a look at one of the windows

The hospital was founded in 1682, when King Charles II decided he wanted to create a facility to look after soldiers returning from war.

Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to design and build the hospital and the first residents moved in in 1692. Today, it is home to some 300 Chelsea Pensioners.

The refurbishment, which began after a £13 million fundraising appeal, included improvements to dormitories, giving residents their own bedroom, study space and en-suite shower room facilities.

Work was held up during the pandemic, but is now scheduled to be completed by December.