Victorian Cast Iron Radiators

After a visit to my architect friend Jen’s Victorian home in South London last year I was inspired to consider replacing the standard modern radiators with salvaged Victorian ones in the hallway and ‘Grand Hall’ area.

I was keen for the radiator to be in keeping with the age and style of our terrace so started with a bit of online research. I learnt that the main manufacturers of radiators in the UK around the time our terrace was built in 1879, were Ideal Boiler Co (purchased by the American Radiator company in 1897), and Beeston Foundary. Although I was initially quite taken by the very decorative Victorian Beeston radiators above, I decided that they wouldn’t really be appropriate in our simple boned little terrace, and so decided to search for a cleaner lined Ideal Boiler Co column radiator instead. You can read more about the history of cast iron radiators here if interested.

Luckily, both salvaged and replica cast iron radiators are not in short supply and are available from a number of online salvage shops such as Salvage Doctor, where the images above are from.  But where is the fun in just ordering a slightly overpriced radiator online when you can trek out to distant South London to hunt one down in an old salvage shop specialising in cast iron fireplace surrounds and radiators instead?

Today we took a bus journey out to Sydenham where we met Peter at the Old Bath House Architectural Salvage.  The shop contains Peter’s dizzying haphazard collection of cast iron building elements which he has amassed over 20 years in the business. Fireplaces are stacked 5 or 6 deep against every wall surface and there is barely space to squeeze past.  It’s an amazing place and was worth the visit as we left having purchased two very reasonably priced Ideal Boiler Co radiators which apparently came out of a home in Sloane Square.

They will get shot blasted to remove the paint and then delivered in about a week’s time.   Above are a few photos of The Old Bath House, and the radiators that will soon be warming our home (the white topped ones in the foreground).


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