Bespoke motorised black-out blinds

The Marine Hall and Gardens complex sits overlooking the beaches of Fleetwood. At its centre is an original art deco theatre. The beautiful 1930’s building has retained many of its original features, including the huge 9 meter diameter stained glass dome that dominates the room. The dome provides a magnificent centrepiece for the historic hall, but it also provides a huge headache for performances and events – light ingress.

The challenge was to design, build and install a bespoke blind system that could be remotely operated from the theatre floor, providing total blackout cover. With extensive experience and a reputation for creating and implementing unique shading solutions, James Robertshaw were the obvious choice.

Our challenges began with the surveying process – the unique design of the dome required an equally unique system. The blind system would only function with straight sections, so a straight-edged timber frame had to be built to fit inside the curvature of the dome. We designed and manufactured additional blackout sections to create a completely light-proof surround for the roller blinds to operate within.

The final solution was a system made up of 8 individual blind segments, measuring 3,200mm width x 3,000mm drop each, covering a total surface area of 58 square metres. The individual segments were installed on spring tensioned rollers and operated by electric rollers with tape spools, which gathered up the control tapes. These electric rollers would be installed to the top section of the dome, directly above the spring rollers with the fabric attached.

Our next challenge was to install it – no mean feat when the location is on the roof of a 90-year-old theatre that can only be accessed by tiny stage doors and two external ladders! When combined with gale-force winds and icy surfaces, it took all of our expert installation team’s experience, concentration and ingenuity to get the job done.

“James Robertshaw consulted and advised a totally bespoke solution for our light issues. Before appointing JR, we consulted several companies that told us that what we wanted was not possible. JR proved their competition wrong and have been outstanding, professional and completed under budget.” Keeley Jones, Marine Hall

Operation is via radio remote control (RTS), with the sound engineers able to control the blind systems from the stage area below the dome. With all the blinds retracted into a PVC sill profile, light ingress is prevented.

This project was a fantastic reminder to all of us about why we’re so proud of the work we do. It encapsulated all the things that we do best: ingenuitive design and engineering, precision manufacture, expert fitting and exceptional customer service. We don’t just find the solution, we create it.

Do you have a challenging building that requires a bespoke blind or awning? Have you been told what you want just isn’t possible? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

James Robertshaw
James Robertshaw
James Robertshaw