IT IS rare, a wonderful example of craftsmanship, a "real
treasure" - and it's a radiator: a Victorian radiator, which is
still working. Its importance was only spotted when preparations
were being made for a new heating system in St Mary's, Twyford,
between Maidenhead and Reading, in Oxford
An expert in church buildings recognised its importance, and got
in touch with the heritage group of the Chartered Institution of
Building Services Engineers. Their expert, Frank Ferris, came along
to look at it (above) and said that it was "a wonderful
example of Victorian engineering craftsmanship".
It had been made by Rosser & Russell, a company that dates
back to the late 1700s, although the radiator had probably been
manufactured in the 1860s, a dozen years after St Mary's was built.
Rosser & Russell still exist today, using the latest technology
to provide building services for organisations such as the BBC and
the Metropolitan Police.
"I have visited around 500 churches during the course of my
search for Victorian heating systems," Mr Ferris said, "and it's
the first example of this company's early work that I have ever
seen. It could well be unique at this time."
Because of its historical and heritage value, the church now
plans to keep the radiator - though no longer working - when the
remainder of the present heating system is removed. The
Priest-in-Charge of St Mary's, the Revd Simon Howard, says: "We
might even get round to putting a little plaque above it, to show
future generations just how special it is."