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The Historic Ventilation System of the House of Commons, 1840-52: revisiting David Boswell Reid’s environmental legacy

Schoenefeldt, Henrik (2018) The Historic Ventilation System of the House of Commons, 1840-52: revisiting David Boswell Reid’s environmental legacy. Antiquaries Journal, 98 (2018). pp. 245-295. ISSN 0003-5815. E-ISSN 1758-5309. (doi:10.1017/S0003581518000549)

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For twelve years the physician David Boswell Reid was involved in developing the ventilation system for the New Palace of Westminster. Starting in 1840 he produced plans for a centralized stack system serving the whole Palace, which included proposals for a sophisticated climatic control strategy for the House of Commons and Lords. These plans were never completed. They were abandoned in 1846 and his responsibility for the ventilation was confined to the House of Commons. Various scholars acknowledge Reid’s role as the ventilator, but his actual contribution to design of the Palaces ventilation system has remained unexplored. Neither his original proposal nor his final design for the Commons has been studied in any depth before. Using the original archival material this articles retraces the evolution of Reid’s plans and reconstructs his early proposal and final scheme for the House of Commons. These schemes were illustrated by the author in a series of drawings. Examining Reid’s scientific working methods, this article also explores how the Temporary Houses of Commons(1836-51) and Temporary House of Lords(1838-47) were used to test and refine his concepts before their application to the actual Palace. The final section investigates how the performance of the Permanent House of Commons was evaluated by scientists and the MPs themselves, providing insights into the technical and human factors that contributed to Reid’s system being replaced after only two years.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0003581518000549
Projects: Projects 22229 not found.
Uncontrolled keywords: House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal, Environmental design, sustainability, David Boswell Reid, Charles Barry
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TD Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering
T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > Architecture
Depositing User: Henrik Schoenefeldt
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 12:09 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 20:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Schoenefeldt, Henrik:
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