7th June 2023

CCK ceiling, boiler room and HLC

By June almost all the scaffolding inside the cathedral has been struck, revealing the reordered space and showing off the newly decorated walls and ceilings. We are pleased to find the incline in the floor is barely visible and virtually imperceptible as one walks over it.



In the Chapel of Christ the King at the east end, which we created during the works to reinter Richard III, the new blue paint on the ceiling boards pulls ones eye eastward and complements the colours of the wonderful Memorial Window at the east end of the chancel, by Christopher Whall and installed in 1920 to commemorate those who died in the Leicester Regiment in the Great War. This colour palette extends from the sanctuary within the crossing, where the strident yellow colour has been removed and the overall design has been simplified to highlight the central carved bosses of Raphael Brandon’s 1860’s tower ceiling above the high altar. Elsewhere the prevailing palette of red and green paintwork has been maintained, with the touches of yellow paint replaced with a creamy white, and the red and green hues adjusted to make them more earthy and thus more sympathetic to the other colours present in the cathedral than the previous 1980’s decorative scheme.

Within the boiler room the installations are well advanced, with high-efficiency condensing boilers installed. Although it would have been a significant challenge to accommodate either ground source (due to the very restricted size of the basement plantroom), or get consent for a battery of air source heat pumps (which would have been visible), moving to an electric solution would have hugely lowered the historic cathedrals carbon emissions, and was an aspiration of Chapter and the Design Team alike. Regrettably the local electrical network operator was not able to provide sufficient power to accommodate a change to heat pumps at design stage, and after consents were granted and funding bids were approved, it was not possible to change.

We have reduced heating energy demand by using underfloor heating in a new insulated floor, and the new boilers will minimise gas consumption. Martin Thomas Associates have designed the entire heating system to operate at a low flow temperature, so that when these boilers come to the end of their lives they can be replaced by heat pumps, without having to replace the rest of the heating installation.

The construction of the HLC basement is proceeding well, with the lower level outer walls and their insulation complete, and preparation being made to cast the basement -1 slab.