Public  Buildings
Landmark  Buildings

The Palace of Westminster,  London 1834

     Fanning Wheel of Dr Desaguiliers 1735 
The crank handle was turned by a man
"The Ventilator"

Perhaps no buildings have been subjected to such numerous heating and ventilating experiments as the Houses of Parliament, to which Sir Christopher Wren, Dr Desaguliers, the Marquis de Chabannes, Sir Humphry Davy and many others directed their attention. Dr David Boswell Reid was responsible for the ventilation of the House of Commons when it was rebuilt after destruction by fire (1834); a chamber was provided for moistening, drying, cooling and producing other alterations in the air, besides those affected by the hot-water apparatus. Air was introduced into the Commons Chamber through a great many holes in the floor and risers. The motive power for the forced ventilation was provided by a fire at the base of the upcast shaft (chimney). Cooling in summer was accomplished by nocturnal ventilation, by evaporation of water, by passing cold water through the heater battery, and in rare cases by the use of ice (a rudimentary form of air conditioning). To discover at any time what degree of heat the persons above were enjoying a thermometer was pulled down by a string from a concealed part of the House.
Though Reid’s plan probably represents the first real attempts at environmental control it came in for severe criticism. He and the architect, Sir Charles Barry, were in continual conflict. Barry refused to give Reid any drawings and Reid refused to do any drawings at all.
Dr Boswell Reid's scheme was still in use in 1891.

 London  County Hall,  1922


The main services contract was awarded to J Jeffreys & Co. leading a consortium which included R Crittall & Co.   G N Haden & Sons, and Norris & Dutton Ltd.  Their work included heating, hot water service, plenum plants and ventilation. Steam services supplied  the plenum plants and also for cooking.   A separate contract for the special plenum ventilation for the Council chamber Suite was awarded to Buffulo Forge ( the chamber was later air conditioned by Carrier Eng).
The work of the drawing office included 450 plans, 81 pages of heat loss calculations, 428 pages of pipe-friction calculations and 177 pages of Specification and Priced Schedules. Installation progress was recorded daily on isometric system drawings.
The main equipment included four hot-water and steam boilers (Davey Paxman), four circulating pumps  (2 electric,    2 steam), and two steam calorifiers (taking exhaust steam when available).

Other statistics include;

Weight of air moved, tons per hour   460             

Number of radiator registers  1630                                                          

Number of plenum / extract registers  1450                                
Number of radiator and heating loops   2150                                   
Number of valves                   6240

Length of piping, miles               30
Approx. number of fittings    40,000                                                       

    St George's Hall, Liverpool  1851


In the early 19th century, it was decided that Liverpool needed an appropriate building in which to hold concerts and events. Plans were drawn up by the architect Harvey Lonsdale Elmes and construction began (1842) but Elmes died leaving completion of this outstanding neo-classical building to Professor C R Cockerell. Dr David Boswell Reid was engaged to design a heating and ventilating system, not included in Elmes original designs.

In 2005 the Heritage Group of the CIBSE awarded its first Blue Plaque to St George’s
Hall recognising it as the World’s First Air-Conditioned Building.

For more detailed information about the building's Engineering Services and the persons involved with its design use this link


AUGUST  2002