St Andrew's  Blagdon

North Elevation

South Elevation

The previous church was demolished except for the Tower. In the Edwardian period the church was re-built and joined to the existing Tower. The church consecrated in October 1909, was built with monies donated by the Wills family of WD & HO Wills the tobacco firm in Bristol, who were large wealthy land-owners in the locality.


What makes this church different is that the design and construction of the church had a fresh air ventilation system built into the fabric of the building. It is most uncommon for a church to have a fresh air ventilation system installed at the outset of its construction. The fresh air was warmed by the hot water central heating system which had its boiler room sited under the organ.

South Elevation

The fresh air was introduced through low level rectangular cast iron gratings fitted in the external walls, one on the south wall and
three on the north wall.

North Elevation

Behind each grating was fitted a circular salt glazed pipe buried into the foundations, which was routed to the
underside of a cast iron sectional radiator fitted against the internal church columns

Each radiator was mounted on a cast iron base plinth that directed the fresh air upwards to be heated as it rose through the radiator. The base plinth is fitted with an adjustable damper so that the amount of fresh air can be varied as necessary.


                        These radiators which appear to be of Beeston Boiler Company manufacture, were fitted with cast iron detachable baffle plates, to
                        cause the warmed air to rise up through the radiator and exit at the top.
This method maximized the heating effect of the fresh air
                        before entering the occupied space of the church.


At the high level tower end of the church three openings were left in the wall through into the tower, where the vitiated air entered into a vertical duct inside the tower which then exited through the roof.



To increase the upward movement of air through this extract duct, a cast iron gilled tubing heater battery was installed in the tower duct fed from the church heating system. It can be surmised that this battery was intended to improve the stack effect in speeding the flow of air exiting through the tower ducting. Unfortunately this heater battery has been removed together with its connecting pipework. The above image is an illustration of what the heater battery could have looked like.

A heating pipe coil has been installed under the high level windows in the Nave on both north and south elevations to minimize the cold downdraught effect from these windows. These pipe coils are an example of the quality of pipework installations in those early days. To enhance the appearance of these pipe coils passing across the face of the cylindrical columns fender sets have been installed. These days a mixture of fittings would be used as craftsmen no longer exist capable of this quality of installation. 

The fender set

Whether the fresh air ventilation was operable during the period of the year when the heating system was switched off is debatable.


The reason for the installation of this fresh air ventilation system is a matter of conjecture, but its purpose could possibly be to improve the quality of the air
the church’s congregation.

AUGUST  2018