Fireplace in Victorian Lower Ground Flat

Forum for discussing period houses.

Fireplace in Victorian Lower Ground Flat

Postby beardedpixie » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:01 am

I have recently moved in to a Lower Ground Flat in a Victorian Building and I'm looking to re-instate 1 of the fireplaces. At the moment there is a quite a slim chimney breast with no air brick or vent. I have removed a brick about 30cm up in the middle of the breast to reveal a narrow cavity that seems to be full of rubble. It looks like the rubble was just put in when the fireplace was bricked up but I'm wondering how far up it goes and how difficult it is going to be to re-instate the chimney as it is a large building and needs to be cleared all the way up 4 floors. Also the chimney breast has central heating pipes that pass in front of it and I'm not too sure what to do with these as the floor is concrete and has been tanked which kind of rules out burying them in the ground.
Any ideas?

Bearded Pixie of Surbiton
New Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:08 pm


Postby Simon TL » Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:14 pm


Is the 'rubble' big stuff, or a mix of mortar, soot, and just the odd piece of brick? If it is, then *hopefully* this is just the usual decayed material - you can scoop it out. If you get to say 5 buckets then you have a bigger problem! And if it is large rubble then again, you could try taking some out and see what happens. If you get to the end of it, you can move to the next stage.

1. get a sweep to clean the flue and advise on its state, as well as the cap or whatever on the stack.
2. the big worry here is carbon monoxide; with lots of flats above there is a fair chance that at least one of the 'leaves', the thin walls of brick between flues has failed and you could kill a neighbour! You could light a fire and then take a (preferably electrically powered) tester to each room in every flat above. Or get your flue lined - which will cost a fair bit but will be more likely to keep you out of a court on a manslaughter charge!
3. As to the pipes, a simple solution would be to re-route them into the alcoves at one side of the chimneybreast; would that work?

Hope this helps.
Simon TL
Full Member
Posts: 863
Joined: Wed May 15, 2002 10:58 pm

Re: Fireplace in Victorian Lower Ground Flat

Postby Gary P » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:04 pm


A good sweeper will have the knowledge of what is happening with the other chimms by testing it with the "white smoke test", you can also ask your neighbours if their fires are blocked as some may have removed their chimm breasts to create more room but still able to use it for Central Heating, or if you are lucky, some may still be open. I hope it all works out right for you. Good Luck

Gary P
Gary P
New Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:29 pm

Re: Fireplace in Victorian Lower Ground Flat

Postby tim smedley » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:54 pm


Gary's advice is spot on; before doing any more structural work I speak to all the neighbors above your flat and specifically checked that they have not removed their chimney breasts to create a larger room. You could smash the hole in the wall and do the smoke test to find out the task is impossible and you need a brickie, plasterer and decorator!.

The person who removed any chimney breasts would/should have had the work checked by the local council to confirm it has been done per the local building regulations, so a call to them might help if you cannot contact the neighbors. Equally the freeholder would have had to have given permission so they might be able to tell you.

With regards to the pipes, do you mean they pass from one side of the room to the other in front of the fire, e.g. screwed to the skirting board? If so, your cheap options are limited if you can't go down below floor level, you will have to go the long way around the room or if possible move whatever is on one end of the pipes. e.g move the radiator. If there is no other way then you can cut into the floor but it would then need re-tanking and that may be difficult &/or expensive.

Let us know how you get on!


tim smedley
Full Member
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 8:21 pm
Location: Friern Barnet, London

Return to Bricks and Brass

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests