University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Martin Centre Research Seminar Series - 43rd Annual Series of Lunchtime Lectures > Inquiries into the Historic Ventilation System of the Palace of Westminster, 1837-1924

Inquiries into the Historic Ventilation System of the Palace of Westminster, 1837-1924

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ranald Lawrence.

Up until the mid-1940s the Palace of Westminster has been ventilated by means of a stack ventilation system, developed by a group of engineers, architects and scientists in the mid-nineteenth century. Henrik’s current research project, however, has revealed that the ventilation system was subject of a continuous process of technical refinement, involving numerous technical experiments and post-occupancy evaluations over a period of seventy years. The management procedure and the internal environmental conditions were also continuously monitored and recorded. This material has not been studied by historians in any depth before, but this talk will illustrate how primary source material can be used to reconstruct the design of the Palace’s historic stack ventilation system and how it was operated under different weather conditions and/or in response to the number of occupants. This is followed by a study of the system’s performance from the point of energy use, thermal comfort and air purity. This research is based on a thorough analysis of historic measured data, eyewitness accounts and the findings of numerous scientific studies conducted inside the Houses of Parliament between 1837 and 1924.

This talk is part of the Martin Centre Research Seminar Series - 43rd Annual Series of Lunchtime Lectures series.

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