POWIS CASTLE






Powis Castle sits close to the Wales - England border in what was the old Welsh county of Montgomeryshire. The original castle dates from mediaeval times and figured prominently in the civil war when it was captured by the Parliamentary troops. Many alterations and improvements to both the buildings and the gardens were made during the 18th and 19th centuries with the latest carried out by G F Bodley during the Edwardian period.  The Castle and its grounds were bequeathed by the Powis family  to The National Trust in 1952.
 


View from roof looking towards the Shropshire Hills

It must have been during the alterations by Bodley that the first heating and electrical engineering services were installed. A significant amount of the original heating distribution system still remains in use, but the original DC electrical system has all but been removed together with the generating plant.

Several important items of engineering history were discovered at Powis Castle, including vertical tubed heaters, early style radiators, ventilation equipment and a warm air stove.

In the Oak Drawing Room quadrant shaped heaters (possibly ventilating type) as made by  William Graham have been installed in the corners of the room. Each heater is enclosed in an ornate carved oak timber enclosure.    









The Long Gallery is heated by a number of early pattern sectional cast iron radiators manufactured by the American Radiator Company (note the intertwined ARC emblem). These radiators are also enclosed by carved timber enclosures.  The radiator handwheels are fitted with  metal disks identifying the name of Richard Crittall who has to be the installer of the heating system.  Note the side inlet bottom entry wheel valve.









Under the Orangery in the furnace basement room the original G&J Haden warm air stove is still fitted, but now unfortunately  in a derelict state.  However, research carried out in the Haden Archive held at the Wiltshire Record Office  found the stove to be Number 556 ordered on 4th February 1841 at a cost of £17 - 1 - 10 including packaging.  It was to be installed in March 1842.








The Castle has its own fire fighting equipment, comprising hoses, dry riser pipework and landing valves. Obviously needed due to the distance of the Castle from the nearest town.








In the old stable block the original ceiling mounted extract pattern propellor fan can still be seen. Manufactured by Musgrave and Co. of Belfast, the fan is fitted with its original DC electric motor made by Verity Ltd, and the variable speed fan controller is still in its wall mounted position. Musgrave and Co. were well known in the late 18th and early 19th centuries for supplying and installing the complete range of ironwork and engineering services for Stable Blocks.











The only remnants of the original DC electrical installation found, were two small sections of timber  trunking fitted at ceiling level in the basement.



 

Only two items of old style sanitaryware were noted,  1)  sluice pattern water closet    2) unusual pedestal pattern wash hand basin,  and 3) "a loo with a view"






FEBRUARY   2004