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St Paul's original warm air convection heating system was designed by Hadens of Trowbridge and is understood to be one of the only twenty known still to exist.

Four double grates in the nave allowed the warm air to circulate.  When working well, the updraft from the natural convection of the warm air was so powerful that it was said to lift garments as people processed and walked over the grates...

Twin portico-topped fires were stoked with coke (some fuel remained in 2009). The tall doors allowed access to clean out the smokeways before the flue gases reach the chimney.


The Hadens were known to be a religious, non-conformist family; it is understood that the architect, Gilbert Scott, and George Nelson Haden were friends and Scott often gave Haden the commission to design and install new Church heating systems (John Ferris, Hevac Heritage)

Further background on the Heritage Group website, including a page on St Paul's.

Following the construction of the Coronation Channel flood relief drain and sluices in 1953, the grates - below ground level - suffered from occasional flooding.  Many alternative heating systems have been tried including overhead gas and electric fires; in 2014, new overhead and under-pew electric 
heaters (left) were fitted following a full rewire of the church and kitchen/hall.