Dunster Castle

Dunster Castle is to be found on the north facing wooded slopes of the Exmoor Hills alongside the picturesque village of Dunster, near Minehead in north Somerset. The Castle built during Norman times has been the ancestral home of the Luttrell family for 600 years, who gave it to The National Trust in 1976. 

The Castle was remodelled between 1868 and 1872 which is the most likely period when the first central heating system was installed.  There is no indication in the building that a warm air heating system was ever installed, and by 1868 wet heating systems were becoming the usual method for heating larger buildings.

The main LPHW system has a mixture of several types of Ideal Radiators. The plain 4-column, plain 3-column, plain wall and window pattern that date from the very early 1900's, manufactured by the National Radiator Company Ltd. 

Plain wall pattern

An interesting feature with the radiators is that most of them have a
quick-opening regulating valve fitted to the return pipe connection of the
radiator providing a coarse form of regulation. It is unusual to find this
type of valve being used on heating systems that date from this period.

Some examples of the heaters which date from the original heating system still remain in the shape of semi-ornate box-ended pipe coil heaters, most of which are encased in full or flat faced metal pedestals.

Three different patterns of cast iron heater pedestals are installed which
enclose the type of box-ended pipe coil heater shown above.

Pattern 1

Pattern 2

Pattern 3

A remarkable engineering services discovery of a Perkins single circuit HPHW heating system was made in the Estates Offices.  This is the first Perkins single circuit loop to be found by the Heritage Group.

A brickwork furnace enclosed in a iron casing that carries the nameplate John King
Limited Liverpool. This furnace houses a single loop of Perkins pipework
and appears
to have been the first heating furnace installed but it was for some
reason later
removed and replaced by the open brickwork furnace.

The expansion pipe vessel (for the Perkins system) complete with the top-up and air venting connections is sited in a spiral stone staircase at the highest point of the pipework system.

The extra long spanners that can be seen, were necessary to be able to securely tighten the plugs fitted at the filling and air venting positions in the pipework. The very high operating pressure and temperature of the Perkins system made it essential that all fittings in the pipework were tightly sealed.

The main bell annuciator board has 29 call positions. It is interesting to note
the local place names that have been used in the various room titles.
  To view a larger size image and read the room titles, click on the image.

JULY  2006