How we Achieved the Impossible

When someone tells you that what you want is 'just not possible', do you stop there or work a little harder to get what you want?

The management team at Marine Hall decided that they wouldn't give up and instead continued to look for a company who could deliver a bespoke blind system for a challenging space that was impacting on their venue's success. The company they found were none other than James Robertshaw. But perhaps you guessed that.

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.

It was impossible to find an existing product that would solve this problem.

Our challenge was to design, build and install a bespoke blind system that could be remotely operated from the theatre floor and would provide total blackout cover.

Our challenges began with the surveying process. The unique design of the stained glass dome meant that an equally unique system would have to be designed. Our engineering knowledge of previous projects told us early on that the blind system would only function with straight sections, so a straight-edged timber frame had to be designed and built to fit inside the curvature of the dome. Added to this, we had to design and manufacture additional blackout sections to create a completely light-proof surround for the roller blinds to operate within.

The solution to these challenges 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.

Having successfully designed and built the blackout system, our next challenge was to fit 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 the gale-force winds blowing in off the sea and icy surfaces, it took all of our expert fitting team’s experience, concentration and ingenuity to get the job done.

The result? An effective and impressive automated blind system, designed to fit. 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.

To view the full case study and a stunning video of the completed work, please visit here.

Throughout the surveying, design, manufacture and fitting process, our dedicated team of office support staff overcame any problems and surprises associated with such a unique project.

They were flexible enough to work within the local council structures of tenders and contracts, whilst maintaining the exact standards and attention to detail that we strive for on every job.

The project at Marine Hall 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 implementation, and exceptional customer service. We don’t just find the solution, we create it.

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

I'd personally like to thank all the team that worked in this project.

Their expertise and skill enables us to tackle the most interesting and challenging of projects.

Have you been told that the canopy or awning you want just isn't possible? Do you have an unusual window that needs a skylight or an outdoor space that needs a bespoke, made to measure retractable blind? We would love to hear from you!

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