Annual Reports

 

1999    2000    2001    2002    2003    2004    2005    2006
 2007
 



CIBSE  Heritage Group 
Annual Report 1998

At the beginning of the year, the Group concluded its participation in the CIBSE Centenary Year by presenting a number of the Heritage Lectures at various Regional Meetings. 

At the CIBSE AGM in May, the Group’s Vice chairman, Paul Yunnie was presented with the CIBSE Silver Medal in appreciation of his international liaison activities and his special contributions to the Centenary celebrations.  

Also in May Mike Barber on behalf of the Group hosted visits in Liverpool at St George’s Hall, and the Royal Infirmary also in Liverpool for Professor Jeffrey Cook of Arizona State University, who is researching prominent Victorian buildings and their services.

In June a joint Centenary seminar “Ventilation: Lessons from Innovations of the Past” was held with the Natural Ventilation Group at the Royal Society.

In July the Group went to Scotland where a meeting and tour of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh 'House for the Art Lover' in Glasgow was organised by Ian Stewart. Visits were also made to the Cochran Boiler factory in Annan, an exhibition on the history of Cochran at the Annan Museum, and the Archives of the University of Glasgow. In September the Group made a joint visit with the Construction History Society to the CIRCA / WICCAD Archive being established in Frome Somerset and then went on to Trowbridge to view the Haden Archives in the Wiltshire Record Office and the exhibits in the Museum. 

In December the Christmas Heritage Lecture “Shell Revisited” was held at the Shell Centre on the South Bank and included a lecture, films of the building of the Centre and a tour of the services plant rooms. Completed in 1962, Shell was then the largest air-conditioned office block in Europe and using a radiant-cooling ceiling system.

Liaison with other organisations continues, including the ASHRAE Historical Committee, the CIBSE / ASHRAE Group, Lighting Division, the Natural Ventilation Group, the Science Museum, the Museum & Galleries Commission, BISRIA, and Arizona State University.

In March 1999 the Group is co-sponsoring with the IEE a lecture at Savoy Place on the history of lift technology and is also contributing to the BISRIA International Ventilation Hygiene Conference at the National Motorcycle Museum at Solihull.
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CIBSE  Heritage Group 
Annual Report 1999
After its involvement with the CIBSE Centenary the Heritage Group has continued its work of promoting the study and recording of the history of building services engineering.  This work involves liasing with such organisations as the Science Museum, The National Trust and English Heritage.

The Group’s 1999 summer meeting took it to Northern Ireland, where they visited a pioneering mechanical ventilation system for the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, dating from 1903.  This system designed by Henry Lea described in Rayner Banham’s book “The Architecture of the Well tempered Environment”, comprises a plenum supply system, the air being supplied by two air handling plants (duty and standby), each consisting of wetted screens of coconut fibre rope for filtration/humidification, steam pipe coils for heating the air, and a steam engine driven axial fan. The treated air is fed into a large subterranean builders work duct from which the supply to the Hospital’s 17 wards is taken. The Wards were pressurised by this filtered, tempered air supply and this residual pressure provided the motive power for the vitiated air to leave the wards via extract ducts which terminated in distinctive louvered lanterns, one on the roof of each Ward.

The visit to inspect what remained of the system was prompted by the current threat to this 1903 building posed by new Wards being built alongside. The Group’s expectations were to at least find remnants of the 1903 plenum system still in place. However, these expectations were greatly exceeded!  The complete system was found virtually to still exist, steam driven fan and all, and to our delight was found to be in action!  Admittedly one of the steam plants has been replaced by a modern electrically driven air handling unit with the remaining steam plant serving as standby.

After visiting the Royal Victoria Hospital, we moved on to inspect the preserved Carrickfergus gas works. The last remaining coal gas plant in Ireland. The works ceased to produce coal gas in 1964.  Part of the works now houses a collection of gas appliances. The Group returned from Northern Ireland convinced it had visited one of the last (if not the last) working steam driven ventilation system.  However, shortly afterwards we learnt that the latter was not the case – apparently, also in Belfast, is another steam driven system which is still in continuous daily use, this being a system at the Municipal Technical Institute. 

Thus a repeat visit to Belfast is being planned. Also being planned is a visit in May 2000 to Liverpool, to inspect what remains of two pioneering systems. The first being the mechanical ventilation system designed by Dr D B Reid in the 1850’s for St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, followed by a visit to another building described by Rayner Banham in his book – namely the hermetically sealed house known as the Octogan building, designed in the 1870’s by a medical GP.

As well as organising visits, the Group has a number of on-going projects. One of these is to investigate the life and works of a foremost Victorian Building Services Engineer, Wilson Weatherley Phipson, whose building’s include the Royal Albert Hall, Alexandra Palace and Birmingham Town Hall. Other work includes the preparation of a publication documenting the lives of pioneers of our business (The Comfort Makers), a book of the histories of the major long established heating and ventilating firms in the UK and a book on the history of air conditioning in high rise buildings.  We continue to offer talks to CIBSE regions etc.

In November we produced and distributed the first edition of our Group Newsletter, which we hope will now be produced on a regular basis.

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CIBSE  Heritage Group
Annual Report  2000

The group was involved in a very active year, with further visits to historical buildings, and carrying out more detailed investigative work into the pioneers of the Victorian heating industry.

Four Committee meetings were held during the year.

 BOOKS

1.     Work continues on the preparation of the book titled The Comfort Makers, which is being sponsored by ASHRAE and publication is planned for 2001.

2.  The Magic of Hot Water is being prepared and will be produced for Andrews Water Heaters for publication in the spring of 2001.

3.   G N Haden & Sons Ltd Bristol Office 1927 – 1969 is completed and will be printed in early 2001.

The Group’s newsletter hopefully, is now an established fact. Issues numbers 2 and 3 were printed and distributed during the year.

Several group members attended the Dublin 2000 Joint conference of CIBSE / ASHRAE in September at which the group presented a heritage paper which gave an update on the life, achievements and contracts of Victorian H&V engineer Wilson Weatherley Phipson.

The achievements of this forgotten Victorian H&V engineer continues to involve the Group’s members and further researches have been made at the Birmingham Record Office, Patent Office and the National Newspaper Library. Many more details about his achievements have been discovered including the first set of original drawings prepared by him for the Birmingham Art Gallery and Gas Offices. These have now been recorded and photographed.  

A return visit was made to Northern Ireland in November to tour, record and photograph the engineering services in the Municipal Technical Institute Belfast (MTIB) building. This building is truly remarkable because it retains its original Edwardian 1905 steam engine driven ventilation system which is still in continuous daily use. The photographs taken, and records made will be added to the Group’s new website, and a Power Point Presentation will be made for use at future Heritage talks.

A site visit was made to Liverpool to view what remained of the engineering services in two important local buildings.

The Octagon  —    the hermetically sealed house designed in the 1870s by a medical GP, and described in Rayner Banham’s book.

St Georges Hall - the mechanical ventilation system designed by Dr David Boswell Reid in the 1850s.

Construction of the Group’s new Internet website continues with the structural layout of its WebPages and their presentation under discussion.

An exciting development for the Group is that they are now being informed about buildings that have historical engineering services which are under threat of removal and disposal. The Group is then able to arrange a visit so that the equipment can be photographed and recorded for inclusion on the Group’s website. One such example is the parish church of St Helen’s in Abingdon that has several redundant warm air stoves located in under-floor pits in the aisles.

A joint meeting was held in December at the premises of the Rumford Club in London at which the Heritage Group gave a talk on the historical achievements of Count Rumford.  

Members of the Group gave several Heritage talks during the year to various CIBSE regional meetings.
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CIBSE  Heritage Group
Annual Report  2001
The Group’s objectives include the promotion of research into all aspects of the history of Building Services Engineering, together with the recording, and where appropriate, the preservation of historically significant systems, equipment  and records.  The Group has a committee which meets four or five times a year.  The committee members cover a wide range of specialisms, such as HV&AC, Electric Services, Lighting and Public Health.  The Science Museum, English Heritage and BSRIA are all represented on the committee.

The Group has a mailing list of more than 60 addresses in the UK, Europe and USA.

Present Activities

Current Research projects include:-

1. Wilson Weatherly Phipson, MInstCE (1838-1891) was one of the two major British  H & V Consultants of the Victorian era (the other being Henry Lea).

Outcome to date:  Papers presented to the CIBSE  National Conference in 1996 and 2000.  Papers presented to the Merseyside and N Wales, Yorkshire and East Midlands branches of CIBSE.

 Planned:     The publication of a book in conjunction with the Newcomen Society.

2. Haden, firm and family.

 Outcome:   Booklet entitled ‘G N Haden & Sons Ltd, Bristol Office 1927-69’ privately published 2000 (F J Ferris)

 Planned:  Haden Family of Trowbridge  

3. The lives of those involved with developing the art and science of building services.

 Outcome:   Book ‘The Comfort Makers’  published by ASHRAE 2001  (B M Roberts).

4. Steam Driven H&V Systems (Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast and The Municipal Technical Institute, Belfast).

 Outcome to date:   Papers presented 2000/01 to Merseyside & N Wales, Yorkshire and East Midlands Regions of CIBSE.

Other ongoing research projects being carried out under the auspices of the Group include: Church Heating in Victorian times, History of Glasshouse Heating, The Heatmakers (publication planned to mark the HVCA Centenary) and Cinema Air Conditioning 1900-1939.

Other recent publications with which the Group has been involved include:-

1. ‘The Magic of Hot Water’ published by Andrews Water Heating 2001 – (B M Roberts and  P G Yunnie).

2. ‘The Quest for Comfort’ - CIBSE Centenary Publication 1997 – (B M Roberts).

Some recent activities have involved visits to Heritage properties with historic building services systems, John Rylands Library, Manchester; Eltham Palace, London; Soho House, Birmingham; The Municipal Technical Institute and The Royal Victoria Hospital, both in Belfast.

The Group produces a newsletter twice a year.  Copies are mailed to our membership and it is also included on the Heritage Group website.

Future Plans

It is hoped that all the research projects mentioned earlier will result in major publications (books or referred papers).

We are developing a CIBSE Heritage Group website (cross-linked to the official CIBSE site).

We intend to further develop our links with such organisations as ASHRAE, English Heritage, The Science Museum, the Newcomen Society and The National Trust to increase the general awareness of the importance of the history of building engineering services.  We hope this will result in more joint publications, and ongoing preservation and exhibition of historical Building Services Hardware and Software.

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CIBSE   Heritage Group
Annual Report 2002

The Group’s objectives have continued unchanged, being the promotion of research into all aspects of the history of building services engineering, together with the recording, and where appropriate, preservation of historically significant systems, equipment and records.

The Group’s committee numbered nine during the year, plus five co-opted members from external organisations such as BSRIA, the Science Museum, English Heritage and The National Trust. The committee met five times.

The Group has continued to pursue a number of  projects including researching pioneering H&V Engineers such as Phipson, Haden, Perkins, Musgrave and Davidson, and in the field of AC, Carrier’s work in the UK. Landmark buildings visited and recorded include the Municipal Technical Institute, Belfast [again], Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast [again], various National trust properties such as Erddig Hall, Tyntesfield House, and The Argory. The possibility of creating a sound archive of past president’s memories is being investigated.  

Book preparation continued, and discussions for joint publications with English Heritage, National Trust and the Newcomen Society were held. More than half the finance required has been pledged by six sponsors, for a Heritage  book featuring landmark buildings. It is hoped the book will be published in time for the 2003 Edinburgh CIBSE conference.

Fruitful research  has been done in a number of  areas, such as Glasshouse Heating, Church Heating and Cinema Air-conditioning. 

Two editions [nos. 6 & 7] of the HG newsletter were published. These colour editions were mailed to a membership list of exactly 100.

The HG website [www.hevac-heritage.org] has greatly developed over the year. Our site is cross-linked with the official CIBSE site.

As in previous years several Heritage presentations have been made to various CIBSE Regions etc.



CIBSE  Heritage Group 
Annual Report 2003
 
A major event of the Group occurred in September  when it celebrated the 30th anniversary of its founding in 1973. To mark this special occasion an 8-page anniversary  edition of the Newsletter was published which gave pictorial snapshots about the DISCOVERIES; HERITAGE IN PRINT; LECTURES; VISITS; HERITAGE COLLECTION; and  WEBSITE showing the group’s achievements throughout its lifetime.


Members of the Group during the year have written several articles for trade and other publications including the Building Services Journal, ASHRAE, HAC and NADFAS.

The Group’s objectives continue unchanged, being the promotion of research into all aspects of the history of building services engineering, together with the recording, and where appropriate, preservation of historically significant systems, equipment and records. The Group was very pleased to have contributed towards the preservation in St Paul’s Church Deptford London of a rare warm air stove, made by the firm of John Grundy, which was due for imminent removal and disposal.

The Committee this year welcomed Chris Sugg as a member.  The Group has six co-opted members from the external organisations BSRIA, the Science Museum, English Heritage, and The National Trust. The Group met five times during the year, holding two of its meetings by invitation at the offices of English Heritage and The National Trust.

The Group has continued to pursue a number of  projects including research into pioneers in H&V Engineering such as Phipson, Haden, Perkins, Musgrave and Davidson, and in the field of AC, Carrier’s work in the UK. Landmark buildings visited during the year were the Victoria and Albert Museum; the National Monuments Record Centre at Swindon; The National Trust properties of Penryhn, Powis and Chirk Castles, Lacock Abbey and Kingston Lacy House. The creation of an Oral History sound archive remains one of the Group’s future objectives.
The book “Building Services Heritage” featuring twenty Landmark Buildings with important   historical engineering systems was published on time for the 2003 Edinburgh CIBSE conference. A copy of the book was provided for all the delegates.

Discussions continue with English Heritage and The National Trust for joint book publications.  Drafts of two books have been completed and submitted for approval, 1.)  the centenary of the HVCA and 2.) “The Haden’s of Trowbridge”.  Both books are scheduled for publication in early 2004.
 
Further research continues on a number of subjects, such as Glasshouse Heating, Church Heating, Cinema Air-conditioning and the Lighting of Ocean Liners. 

Two further colour editions [nos. 8 & 9] of the HG newsletter were published and distributed to a membership list of exactly 100.

The HG website  [ www.hevac-heritage.org ] continues to expand and a Picture Gallery was added in January which provides an excellent historical mix of pictures and text, sub-divided into five major subject areas, PIONEER COMPANIES; SYSTEMS & EQUIPMENT; BUILDINGS & STRUCTURES; ENGINEERS & ARTISANS and TRANSPORT. The site is cross-linked with the official CIBSE site and also English Heritage.

This year Heritage talks and lectures were given to several CIBSE Regions and for the first time some of the talks used Power Point computerised format for the presentation.


CIBSE Heritage Group
Annual Report 2004

The Group has had a busy and productive year with the Committee meeting four times.

Three of these meetings were combined with visits to heritage sites, the first to the House of Lords Records Archives where the Group was shown the original documents of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney’s 19th century reports about the Ventilation of the House of Commons. The second visit to Brunel’s Engine House & Museum at Rotherhithe included a tour under the Thames of the first under-river tunnel ever constructed in the world.

The last visit was to the Crossness Engines Pumping Station on the south bank of the River Thames  London, with a guided tour of the four largest steam driven rotative beam engines still in existence. One of the beam engines has been wonderfully restored to its former working condition.

The Group’s activities this year have been overshadowed by the untimely death of Committee member Nigel Seeley, who prior to his retirement represented, The National Trust, and latterly University College London.

Several new members joined the Committee this year :-

Jane Insley         [Science Museum]    (Bob McWilliam has now retired).

Tim Bowdon       [Gifford & Partners]

Geraldine O’Farrell    [English Heritage]

Neil Sturrock      [John Moores University]

           David Shaw       [Society of PHE]

During the year Heritage Group members have authored, edited and prepared for publication a number of booklets including:-

[1] ‘HVCA @ 100’ which commemorated the centenary of the HVCA.   [Brian Roberts]

[2] ‘Hadens of Trowbridge 1816 - 2004’ - a publication sponsored by Haden - Young  [Brian Roberts, Frank Ferris and Paul Yunnie]

Two newsletters  [Nos.10 & 11] were published and distributed during the year.

The Group’s own Website continues to expand and now its Homepage has 22 separate sections and is fast approaching 150MB in size. Several heritage subjects about Buildings with historical engineering services and equipment have now been prepared and featured in the computerised format of Microsoft ‘Power Point’. These are separate presentations on heritage topics that are available on CD’s for presenting to CIBSE Regions and other interested groups. During the year members gave talks to several CIBSE Regions and Organisations on subjects of engineering heritage.

The Group’s Vice Chair, Paul Yunnie, has been honoured by being made Chair of the ASHRAE Historical Committee for the second time.

Two members of the Group were presented with medals, Geoff Brundrett (Silver) and Richard Forster (Bronze), and honoured by the Institution at their AGM in May for Services to the Institution.

Group members have visited and reported on a number of historical buildings during the year, including the Britannia Music Hall, Glasgow; The Victoria Baths, Manchester [Winner of the Restoration TV series];  the Faenol Estate, North Wales; Speke Hall Merseyside, [The National Trust]; and Cragside Northumberland [The National Trust].

The Group continues with its research into a number of ongoing projects including,

[1] The life and works of Victorian Engineer   Wilson W Phipson.

[2] Preparing publications in conjunction with The National Trust and English Heritage.

[3] The life and achievements of John Grundy  (first IHVE President 1898)

[4]  Building Engineering Services Heritage Revisited.

Future heritage visits under consideration are in their early stages, being proposed for St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and The Victoria Baths Manchester.

2004 has been a successful year for the Group and it is hoped 2005 will prove to be likewise.


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CIBSE Heritage Group
Annual Report 2005

The Group had a less hectic but still busy year with the Committee meeting five times.

Two of the meetings were held during the visit to a historical building. The first was to the Houses of Parliament where a group of members were given a guided tour, to view what remained of the historical engineering services for this prestigious and complex building, that had been a test bed for many innovative H&V design features installed during the 19th and 20th centuries.


The Heritage Group
during their tour.
The second visit was to the Victoria Baths in Manchester. This building was the competition winner of the BBC2 TV series of programmes titled “Restoration”. Viewers were invited to phone in and vote for the building they felt was the most worthy of being restored and brought back into use.


Displaying the Restoration
Winners Banner.

In May The National Trust held a one-day symposium in memory of Nigel Seeley who had also been a member of the Heritage Group. Two members of the Group gave presentations and talks to the audience.

Newsletter No.12 was published in June. This was the last one to be sponsored by Andrews Water Heaters. Newsletter No.13 published in December became the first issue to be sponsored by English Heritage.

In August the Group said goodbye to their vice-chairman of many years Paul Yunnie who has relocated to Australia, and welcomed Neil Sturrock as their new vice-chairman.

The Group’s own Website continues to progress, with updates usually every 2 months. Five Victorian engineers and two Doctors all with strong H&V interests have now been researched and given their own Webpage layouts. Seven more books on engineering heritage subjects have been added to the website, displayed in electronic format.

Webmaster and Newsletter Editor for the group Frank Ferris, was honoured by the Institution at their AGM in May, being presented with the Bronze medal  for Services to the Heritage Group.

The Institution of Civil Engineers asked the Heritage Group to write mini-biographies of five Victorian engineers who had a prominent involvement with the Heating and Ventilating industry. The biographies are to be included in their new Dictionary of Victorian Engineers, whose careers spanned the period from 1830 to 1890.

During the year members gave talks to CIBSE Regions and Organisations on subjects of engineering heritage.

The Heritage Group accepted an invitation from the Republic of Ireland CIBSE Region in November for a representative to attend their Heritage Event in Cork City. The evening event was held at the Old Waterworks, where the old buildings housing many items of engineering heritage, have been carefully restored by a combination of local funding and a grant from EFTA. The buildings are now used as a Lifetime Lab for the benefit of the general public and as an educational facility. 

Group members have visited and reported on a number of historic buildings during the year, including The National Trust properties of Arlington Court Devon, Dunster Castle Somerset, Great Chalfield and Westwood Manors in Wiltshire.




The Group’s first commemorative plaque
for a building of significant historic engineering services, was awarded to St George’s Hall Liverpool. The Chairman of the M&NW CIBSE Region is seen here presenting it to the Chairman of the St George’s Hall Charitable Trust.

 



Research has continued into a number of ongoing projects including,

[1] The life and works of Victorian Engineer, Wilson Weatherley Phipson. MICivil E.

[2] Preparing publications in conjunction with The National Trust and English Heritage.

[3] Let there be Light.  Research into the history of the IES

[4] Building Engineering Services Heritage Revisited.

[5] The family and firm of Renton Gibbs  Liverpool

[6] The family and firm of John Grundy, the first President of the IHVE.

[7] The search in Churches and Chapels for Victorian and Edwardian heating systems.

[8] Dr Neil Arnott. FRS and his warm air stove.

Future heritage visits under consideration are still in their early stages, being proposed for the old British Library and Buckingham Palace.

2005 has been a year of consolidation for the Group. The Group looks forward to making further exciting historical discoveries in 2006, enabling much more of our building engineering services heritage to be recorded.

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CIBSE Heritage Group
Annual Report 2006


The Group's committee met 5 times during the year, 3 of the meetings included a visit to a building having an interesting background of historical engineering heritage. Two of the visits were made to the Houses of Parliament to complete the HG tour of this important and complex building.

The third visit was made to the Old British Library building to view what remained of the original engineering services in the undercroft of the circular shaped Reading Room.

             

The book about the life and contracts of  Wilson Weatherley Phipson by Brian Roberts, (who as the Author first wrote it in 2002 and then updated it in 2006), has now been privately printed and distributed to group members. It is a tribute to the detailed research carried out by the Group’s chairman into the life and contracts of this eminent Victorian heating and ventilating engineer, sadly forgotten by history. The book is now available as a hard copy, to those wishing to purchase a copy.

The Group’s Internet website celebrated its 5th anniversary in November and continues to expand with 40 new webpage updates added to the website during the year. A software program has been written which now allows all new and amended webpages to be updated and added to the HG Internet website as soon as they have been constructed. The website is now attracting enquiries from people around the world, interested in learning about our engineering history. The Group’s members are always pleased to assist and help wherever possible.

Group Member Frank Ferris (an ex-employee of G N Haden & Sons Ltd) was pleased to be given the opportunity by the Haden family to transcribe the 61 letters, hand written by family members George, George jnr, James, John and Ann Haden during the years 1810 – 1822. The letters have now been prepared and printed as a booklet. It gives a fascinating insight into the lives and times of these engineers in pre-Victorian Britain who worked for Boulton & Watt of Birmingham, the steam engine pioneers.


           
Group member John Barnes was honoured by the Institution, and awarded the Bronze Medal for services to the Heritage Group. Chairman Brian Roberts made the Group’s first award presentation, at the December Committee meeting.

Paul Yunnie  our  group   member   “down under”  in  the   antipodes  has  had a  very  busy  year a) researching the history of Haden Australia Pty, and has subsequently been involved with the organisation, for the publishing of the book titled, ‘Haden Degrees of Excellence since 1816’, and b) his active involvement in the re-emergence of the scale model of the Sydney Royal Opera House previously unseen for the last 30 years.

Newsletters 14 and 15 were printed and distributed during the year.

Group members have as in previous years, continued to give talks to various CIBSE regions and other Societies, about all aspects of the history of building engineering services, and the industry’s pioneers.

New Group projects started during the year include 1) IES Presidents 1909 - 1977, 2) the search for Victorian cast iron Street Furniture, 3) ornamental drinking fountains, 4) small towns gas making plants and 5) the heating and ventilating of Victorian Prisons and Asylums.

The Imperial Aircraft War Museum at Duxford Cambs. contacted the HG for permission to use the photos of the Brabazon Hangar shown on the HG’s website. They would like to include the photos as part of their Buildings for Aircraft exhibition to be held in 2007.

Research has continued into a number of ongoing projects including,

[1] The life and works of the Victorian Engineer, Wilson Weatherley Phipson.  MICivil E.

[2] Preparing publications in conjunction with The National Trust and English Heritage.

[3] Let there be Light.  Research into the history of the IES

[4] Building Engineering Services Heritage Revisited.

[5] The family and firm of Renton Gibbs & Co Ltd Liverpool

[6] The family and firm of John Grundy, first President of the IHVE.

[7] The search for Churches and Chapels with Victorian and Edwardian heating, ventilating and lighting systems.

[8]   Dr David Boswell Reid MD, his life and works.

The year 2006 proved to have been another excellent time for Heritage Group achievements. Two more books written and new research projects commenced. Importantly its Internet website continues to expand, becoming internationally known and used by many people wishing to discover information and receive guidance on matters pertaining to Building Engineering Services history.

History Matters - Pass it on

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CIBSE Heritage Group
Annual Report 2007

The Group’s Committee met five times during the year, two of these meetings included a heritage site visit.

The first visit, in April, was to the CIRCA Trust (Construction Industry Resource Centre Archive) at Kimmins Mill in Stroud, Gloucestershire, where the enthusiastic Curator, John Keenan, showed us round and introduced us to a mere fraction of the endless and priceless material stored there.




For the second visit, in September, the Group achieved a long-term ambition of seeing the building engineering services at St Paul’s Cathedral. Martin Stancliffe, the Surveyor to the fabric of St Paul’s Cathedral and renowned Conservation Architect, conducted our tour. Our Haden enthusiast, Frank Ferris, was particularly pleased to find an original Haden heating system, complete with Haden’s own radiators and square flanged lengths of pipework, heating the upper levels of the Cathedral, but apart from that there was very little in the way of historic equipment left to be seen. We were informed that in the 18th Century in very cold weather, trolleys with fires burning on top of them were pulled round the building.


The Heritage Group continued their visits to properties of The National Trust during the year to record and photograph any singled out which are thought to have historical equipment or systems. The properties visited were Calke Abbey, Saltram House, Quarry Bank Mill, Wightwick Manor, and Coughton Court.

The visit to Quarry Bank Mill at Altrincham in June was made by a small group from the Committee, following the announcement that The National Trust had just acquired the house of Samuel Greg, founder of the Mill. There was evidence that steam pipes under the floor had at some stage, heated the entrance hall to the house when the steam main from the Mill had been extended to the house, but the house has been continuously lived in and all other equipment was modern.


Group member Frank Ferris has become a Contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and has submitted entries for Wilson Weatherley Phipson and George Haden that are intended hopefully, to become the first two of several entries of pioneering H&V engineers. 

Chairman Brian Roberts, has produced another five Electronic Books (Fire & Schools; Prisons; Churches; Hospitals; and Plumbing) which will be added to the Group’s website to complement the other books that are available.

Newsletters 16 and 17 were printed and distributed during the year.

The Heritage Group Committee considers that an extremely important element of its role is in giving talks to CIBSE Regions and other Societies about all aspects of the history of building engineering services and this has continued apace this year. We are more than willing to meet this obligation, however, we would urge Regional Secretaries to give as much notice as possible for these events. There have been one or two occasions where only a few weeks notice was given to the Heritage Group Committee for a talk, which Regions had unilaterally included in their programmes. It should also be noted that travelling expenses for these events should come from Regional Funds.

June 2007 marked the bicentenary of the very first public demonstration of gas street lighting, which took place in Pall Mall London. Committee Member Chris Sugg, was involved with the organisation for the commemoration of this event. City of Westminster Council’s Green Plaque being mounted at 100 Pall Mall (the nearest viable location, as the original premises have long since been removed). 

The final Committee Meeting of the year was timed to coincide with a visit to the UK of the Group’s former Vice-Chairman, Paul Yunnie, now residing in New South Wales. Paul was very pleased to be able to show the Committee photographs of an original Haden stove front plate which had been removed from Overbury church in England, then air freighted out to Australia, where it was renovated and now has pride of place in the entrance hall of Haden’s Sydney office. The Heritage Group was pleased to have been involved in helping Paul find a suitable item of G N Haden’s heating equipment made in their Trowbridge works during the Victorian period, for display in Haden’s offices.

Research has continued into a number of ongoing projects including :-

[1] The life and works of the Victorian Engineer, Wilson Weatherley Phipson. MICivil E.

[2] Preparing publications in conjunction with The National Trust and English Heritage.

[3] Let there be Light.  Research into the history of the IES

[4] Building Engineering Services Heritage Revisited.

[5] The family and firm of Renton Gibbs & Co Ltd Liverpool

[6] The family and firm of John Grundy, first President of the IHVE.

[7] The search for Churches and Chapels with Victorian and Edwardian heating, ventilating and lighting systems.

[8]   Dr David Boswell Reid MD, his life and works.

[9] IES Presidents

[10] Victorian Cast Iron Street Furniture

[11] Ornamental Drinking Fountains

[12] Small Town-Gas making plants

[13] H & V of Victorian Prisons and Asylums

[14] Historic Services in Sydney State Theatre

2007 has proved to be another year affording the Heritage Group the opportunity to build upon its earlier achievements.

Dr Neil Sturrock, December 2007

History Matters - Pass it on

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