An ancient object hidden away inside St Mary’s church in Twyford is causing much excitement among a specialist group of experts.
It’s not a rare work of art or ancient document. It’s a radiator.
Not just any old radiator, but an extremely rare example of Victorian manufacturing.
Building services expert Frank Ferris describes it as “a real treasure”.
The find came to light as the church, built in 1847, prepares to replace its existing boiler and heating system before it breaks down entirely.
An expert in church buildings spotted the importance of the small radiator and that’s when Mr Ferris was called in to investigate. He is a member of the Chartered Institution of Building Engineers heritage group and runs their web site.
“It is a wonderful example of Victorian engineering,” he said. “It was made by Rosser and Russell. The company was only set up in the 1860’s, which is probably when this radiator was manufactured.
The company still exists today, using the latest information 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 job and it’s the first example of this company’s early work that I have ever seen – it would have been unique at the time,” said Frank who travelled from Bristol to visit St Mary’s.
Because of its historical value the church now plans to keep the radiator, which still works, when the rest of the heating system is removed.
“We might even get round to putting a little plaque above it to show future generations just how special it is,” said the Revd Simon Howard, vicar of Ruscombe and Twyford with Hurst.
For more information, or to make a donation to the heating appeal, call the church office on 0118 934 4729.