Many of our fine old Cathedrals and Abbeys from the mid-Victorian period onwards were heated by Warm Air Stoves made mostly by two firms,
John Grundy (Grundy) and
The London Warming and Heating Company (Gurney).
Sadly, few of these church buildings have kept their original stoves. Mostly they have been removed and replaced by modern day wet heating systems. However, two Cathedral Churches which have kept and still use their (Gurney) warm air stoves are Chester and Hereford, and also included is Tewkesbury Abbey.
Sir Goldsworthy Gurney designed and patented his stove when he was Goldsworthy Gurney originally from Bude in Cornwall. His Patent application No. 1468 was dated the 23rd June 1856 and titled "Certain Improvements in Warming and Moistening Air"
His stove was originally designed to stand in a shallow base trough of water which when heated was intended to evaporate and moisten the atmosphere inside the building being heated. The stove was designed to burn antracite and thus provide a cheap source of heat.Charles Sumner and Robert William Kennard both with an address in the City of London filed on 13th February 1861 an Amended Disclaimer and Memorandum of Alteration to the Gurney Patent and were given the sole privelige to make, use, exercise and vend Gurney's invention for a period of 14 years. An Indenture was made between Goldsworthy Gurney, the London Warming and Heating Company Limited, Charles Sumner and Robert William Kennard dated 8th July 1858.
Hereford Cathedral originally had four of the largest
size Gurney stoves which were supplied and fitted by
Messrs Bennett & Brown a Hereford firm. Their tender
sum of £240 was accepted by the Dean and Chapter
on 25th June 1867. On 2nd November 1931 a fifth
second hand Gurney stove was bought from
St Asaph's Cathedral for £25. All five stoves were
converted to gas firing in 1989.
One of the Gurney gas fired warm air stoves fitted in the side aisle.
Footnote. Salisbury and Worcester Cathedrals although now both heated by a new wet heating system, have kept for display purposes only,
one of their original Gurney warm air stoves.
Anyone visiting the National Tram Museum in Crich Derbyshire has an excellent opportunity to view a Gurney Stove in a wonderfully restored condition.
The Gurney stove is on display as one exhibit in the Museum's Victorian Trade Exhibition.
This Gurney stove was removed from Chichester Cathedral in 1958 and was then in the safe hands of Neville Brown until he gave it to Heritage Group member Paul Yunnie, who in turn donated it to its now permanent home at the National Tram Museum
CIBSE HERITAGE GROUP