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Steeple Bumpstead – White Enamel Stovax Huntingdon 25 Multi-Fuel Stove

Posted By paddy

Here is something rather unusual, a Stovax Huntingdon 25 Multi-Fuel Stove but in a white enamel finish. I have swept numerous examples of the Stovax Huntingdon range of stoves over the years, but I had not come across one with an enamel finish. What I have seen a lot of manufactured by the stovax company and which comes in a number of different coloured enamel finishes, is the Stovax Brunel range, but I have not seen any other model of stovax stove in an enamel finish before. The lady customer was rather proud of her enamel stove and the fact that it is rather rare and unusual, although personally I’m not sure that a white finish is the best finish for a stove, as it will show any dirt or soot quite quickly. The customer was also pleased that the stove operates more than adequately to heat what was a rather large room.

The Stovax Heating Group has been dedicated to the design and manufacture of exceptional stoves, fires and fireplaces for 38 years. Today, we are one of the UK’s leading stove and fireplace manufacturers, exporting to over 25 countries worldwide.

Across our wood burning, multi-fuel, gas and electric products, we strive to create the future of fire. Each of our heating products is the result of decades of expert craftsmanship and class-leading innovation – representing the pinnacle of British engineering.

The Stovax Heating Group is proud to be part of the NIBE Stoves group, a market-leading provider of domestic heating products.

Based in Exeter, England, Stovax Ltd was established in 1981 to design, manufacture and distribute wood burning stoves and fireside accessories. By 1988, the sister company Gazco Ltd was formed to develop and produce gas and electric versions of Stovax stoves.

Today, Stovax and Gazco continue to work very closely together. Each company has constantly developed its product range such that the combined businesses have grown to become one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of stoves, fireplaces and fires, with exports to countries worldwide.

In 2006, Stovax Ltd purchased Yeoman, a long established manufacturer of wood burning stoves that specialised in more rustic, rural styling. The company continues to produce a distinctive and separate range of wood burning, multi-fuel, gas and electric stoves and fires under the Yeoman brand.

Stovax is also the UK and Republic of Ireland distributor for a number of additional fireplaces and stove brands including DovreLotusNordpeis & Varde. You can find your nearest retailer in the UK and the Republic of Ireland by using the Find a Retailer tool on this website. For information on distributors in other countries, please contact exportsales@stovax.com.



Radwinter – Masport Auckland Wood-Burning Stove

Posted By paddy

Here is a real rarity, a Masport Auckland Wood-Burning Stove, I had never come across one of these before finding this example at an address in Radwinter. Until I swept this stove I was not even aware of a stove company called Masport. Needless to say, I was straight on to Google when I got home to see what I could find out about Masport and the Auckland Stove. I was keen to do this as not only had I not been aware of this stove manufacture and model I had been told by the customer that they had been very impressed with the stoves performance but had not been able to tell me much about it as they had inherited it when they had moved into the address. I always like a bit of a rarity for the weekly blog!

By searching the web I was able to discover that Masport Heating are an Australian stove manufacturer who have been producing stoves and other heating components for over 40 years. They have manufacturing sites in both Australia and New Zealand, hence the Auckland stove model. Their sales material tells us that: “Masport Heating products are designed specifically for Australian homes. We are passionate about providing the most inspirational design and advanced technology to give you the best fire. We strive to care for Australia and its environment, and we are proud to be at the forefront of a new generation of clean burning, ultra-efficient wood fires”.

Masport Heating manufacture a wide range of models, but do not appear to make the Auckland stove any longer. Their models include a cylindrical stove called the Adena, a cassette stove called the Inveral, a type of Jetmaster open fire configuration called the Ligna and two types of pot belly stoves called the Klondike and the Pitsburgh Mk II. They also produce an extensive range of freestanding stoves including the Rosewood, Redwood, Redcliff, Rubyvale, Rockwood, Romsey, Riverstone, Ravenhall, Clunes, Curlewis, Creswick, and the Westcott 1000, 2000 and 3000.


Bruno the Parrot Taking His Morning Exercise in Abington

Posted By paddy

You could have knocked me over with a feather last week, when I turned up at an address in Great Abington to sweep the chimney and found a large Parrot sitting on the gatepost. I simply just couldn’t believe it, at first thinking it was some form of cuddly toy, but as I pulled up and wound down my wind it turned its head to look at me and said ‘hello’. So, it was a friendly, talking parrot in the middle of Great Abington, who would have thought it. Still slightly incredulous, I asked the customer about it, and he told me that his name was Bruno and that he lived close by in a nature reserve and that they let him out every morning for his little bit of daily exercise. Apparently, he never goes very far from the Nature center and returns for his food. The customer said that he is not a parrot as such, but is a Scarlet Macaw and originally comes from Central South America/Amazonia.

Littlebury – Hard at work at the Coalface 

Posted By paddy

I have not previously written about actually doing the sweeping work before in my blog, I don’t know why, but thinking about it now, it seems to be a major omission on my part. Afterall chimney sweeping is what we do! So here is a little insight into the daily round!

The scene in the photo is of a job in Littlebury, where I’m manually sweeping a large opening brick lined chimney – Which is still quite a common occurrence in the sweeping sphere. To those noy initiated to the arts of chimney sweeping there are various different types of sweeping, and not all alleged chimney sweeps are familiar with the different kinds of chimney sweeping techniques and differing types of equipment. For example, power or rotary sweeping relies on the use of a drill to turn rod that click or button lock together and which turn very quickly – A variety of different sweeping heads can be used with power rods, including various nylon stranded heads, various metal cable/strands, brushes or even chains for cleaning tarry terracotta liners. Power sweeping is very effective for cleaning stubborn tar deposits, chimneys with tight turns, or stripping out bird’s nests. However, it should not be used on chimneys made of old soft red brick, old clay pargeted chimneys or brick chimneys that are in a poor state of repair, as it is far too vigorous a method of sweeping and would cause damage to the chimney. This said many sweeps that are out there in your area are only equipped and trained to use the power sweeping technique.

Another methos of sweeping involves the use of a German invented piece of equipment called a Viper. Vipers come in various sizes and like with power sweeping the equipment can be fitted with various different sizes and types of brushes. The viper is a long coil fitted tightly within a round cage, and secured with a brake, that a brush can be attached to the end of and is in essence, rods on a reel. It is the torque within the real that drives the brush up a chimney when the brake is released. The brush can be scrubbed up and down the chimney to effect cleaning. The viper is ideal for sweeping lined appliances, such as stoves and ranges. It does have a significant draw back in that it will only work on a chimney that is relatively straight throughout. This is because there is no way of turning the brush with a viper, so there is no way of getting it to negotiate chimney turns.

Having said all this, what is taking place in the photograph is an example of what we term manual sweeping, where rods and a brush are used to clean the chimney, just as in the days of Victorian chimney sweeps. The only difference today are that the rods are made of carbon fiber and not cane of wood. They do however screw together in the same old way. A particular technique has to be learnt by the sweep to perform manual sweeping, not only to ensure that the chimney is swept effectively, but also to make sure the rods and brush do not undo in the chimney. This involves constantly turning the rods clockwise whilst sweeping the chimney and by putting torque into the rods to prevent them undoing. Torque is achieved by bending each successive rods as they are added, up to the sweeps right shoulder and then twisting it clockwise from the shoulder as it is pushed up the chimney. When the top of the chimney is reached the whole process is reversed on the way down.

Here in the photograph, I’m using a large inglenook brush to sweep what is quite a large open chimney. For each sweep I lay out the equipment required in the same position on the dust sheets. I have the industrial hoover always to my left and my toolbox and rods or viper to my right. If using rods I always rest them on the tool box for ease of access, although I now use an open toolbox, not the one seen in the photo. And that is how I manually sweep an open fire chimney.

Sewards End – Di Lusso R4 Euro Wood-Burning Stove

Posted By paddy

I recently swept this Di Lusso R4 Euro Wood-Burning Stove at an address in Sewards End, near Saffron Walden,  and it is the first time had come across this brand of stoves and I was intrigued to find out more about them. I thought it looked like a very neat, tidy contemporary stove and found that it was relatively easy to disassemble for sweeping, and to put back together again. The customer assured me that the stoves performance was very good and that it was used almost every day of the burning season.

Looking at the stove’s contemporary appearance, its compact styling and its Italian sounding company name, I thought that it would be made by a continental stove manufacturer, in particular an Italian stove company. However, a web search showed me just how wrong I could be, when I discovered that the Di Lusso stove range is manufactured and sold by the Hunter Stoves Group here in the UK. In view of this fact and the stove’s handsome appearance and excellent performance, I’m sure I will be seeing a lot more of them in the future. Particularly as there are a number of different models in the Di Lusso range, the R4, R5 and the R6. These all come as freestanding models and as inset variants, and the R6 comes as the Cube Arco and the Cube Quatro.

Hunter stoves Head Office is in Exeter, like many other stove manufacturers who are also based in the West Country.

Hunter stoves

8 Emperor Way

Exeter Business Park

Exeter EX1 3QS

Contact Us

We had a cheeky visitor to the van in Finchingfield the other day

Posted By paddy

 Here we were busy working at an address in Finchingfield doing the chimneys to a couple of large stoves, when we had a cheeky little visitor in the side compartment of the van. This was Poppy the customers little black Cocker Spaniel bitch, presumably on the hunt for some food, Cockers are known to be food obsessed life forms! “Yes, I’m checking out this van, I’m giving it a really good sniffing, but there is no food here”! Poppy is still quite young, not much over a year old, so she is still a pup really and the world is still such an exciting place, so who wouldn’t want to check out something new when it suddenly turns up on your driveway! The customer also have an old Chocolate Brown Labrador called Kato, who was being very well behaved and wasn’t going anywhere near the van and actually looked a bit sheepish, obviously concerned about what naughtiness his younger colleague was getting up to. They both did really make us laugh and brightened the working day.

The good news was that we didn’t drive off with the customers dog inside the van, and that both the customers stoves and chimneys were absolutely fine. Happy days!

Therfield – Petite Godin Stove

Posted By paddy

 I recently swept this very unusual and attractive tall Petite Godin Stove at an address in Therfield near Royston. These antique stoves are quite a rare find these days, although I have come across one or two of these tall Petite Godin Stoves. I think these antique stoves are rather beautiful and in the right setting they can really add to the ambiance of a room and add value to a property. This stove was an admirable finishing touch to a snug room in an old, thatched cottage. I’m sure its presence means that the snug can be enjoyed by the family all year round! Looking on the internet they really hold their value and are now quite sought after, with a number of websites dealing with their acquisition and sale.

The Godin stove is the foundational of the history of French stove making, and indeed to the history of domestic stove manufacturing as a whole. Before the era of cast iron, domestic fuel took on many forms from the open hearth fire to the clay or stone kiln, but then the 23 year Godin started his business in 1840 making fireplaces in a shed in the centre of Thierache with a loan of about 4,000 francs from his parent, this quickly became too small.

The works soon moved to Guise where he started employing 30 people and in spite of fierce competition his business grew rapidly. The most important reason for this was his innovation. Godin applied for many patents for his products and concentrated on continually improving them both aesthetically and technically, making antique stoves from his era especially valuable.
Godin became a figure to know in French industrial relations. Godin offered his employees living wages or higher at a time of economic downturn, hired from a small pool of people in one geographical area reducing turn over and improving employee reliability.

By the end of the 1900’s, with a further 2000 employees, Godin was dominating the European stove market. Stove designs became ornate and stylised with the advent of the 20th century and the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements. Godin’s stove design in this period did not become as elaborate and decorative as some other companies, such as Deville and Rosières, etc. But the stoves they produced in the early 20th century were, as always with Godin, extremely efficient and featured superb quality enamelling. Some of these original designs are still in production in the Godin factory today, laying testament to their design and efficiency.

Our 2024 Annual Welsh Chimney Sweeping Holiday

Posted By paddy

At the end of this week we have been on our end of January annual chimney sweeping visit to south Wales. This involves sweeping the chimneys of Claire’s dad’s friends in the Wenvoe farming community and a couple of addresses in Mumbles Swansea, for free! This year we did eight chimneys all of which were lined stoves, bar one standard open fire, which makes things quite easy. As usual, much tea was drunk, and cake and biscuits consumed along the way! We were fit to burst from all the kindness once we were done!

The sweeping included two Clearview Vision 500’s, a Villager Flatmate, a Villager Chelsea, A Hunter Hawk and a Double-sided Woodwarm Fireview. Truly a busman’s holiday in another country.

Cat and Chimney in Abbotsbury Dorset

Posted By paddy

I saw this thatched cat next to a chimney whilst I was on holiday in Dorset and visiting the beautiful historic village of Abbotsbury, where in the Middle Ages there had been a large abbey. It is a beautiful village with many thatched cottages all of which are built from the wonderful honey coloured Oolitic Limestone. The village is situated sandwiched between Chesil beach and the saltwater lagoon called the fleet and the downs behind the village. There is so much history around the village with Bronze Age barrows and an Iron Age hill fort on the hills behind the village, the ruins of the abbey and a large thatched Tithe barn which belonged to the abbey. There is even a chantry chapel, St Katherines Chapel on a low hill just outside the village. Abbotsbury was also at the end of a small branch line from Weymouth – The line opened in November 1885 but closed in November 1952 10 years prior to the Beeching cuts. There is also a Swannery which once belonged to the abbey and some renowned tropical gardens. All in all Abbotsbury is well worth a visit if you are ever in Dorset and make sure you look for the cat and chimney along the high street.


Saffron Walden – Art Decco Parkray Room Heater

Posted By paddy

I have previously written a blog about the number of old Parkray room heaters that I come across and sweep on quire a regular basis, but this week’s blog is something quite rare. I first came across one of these Art Decco appearance/design Parkray in the vicarage at Great Canfield whilst sweeping for the Bishop of Chelmsford, where it was actually located in the office for the property – See my previous blog in 2022 I think. I came across this example in a house in Saffron Walden where it was located in the main sitting room. The customer told me that he had only seen one other example of his model of Parkray, and that was in the Victoria and Albert Museum in the design section. As can be seen in the photograph, this Parkray appliance has a beautiful rich golden brown colour, it put me in find of the French enameled stoves of the 1920’s and 1930’s that I sometimes see in people’s houses and sun rooms. It always amazes me to find these Parkray room heaters in people’s homes, still working very efficiently after having been installed many, many years ago! They certainly are a testament to great British design and engineering of the past. Things were definitely made to last in those days!

Parkray have been the leading name in solid fuel stoves for more than a century, producing heating components since 1850. Originally known as ‘Park Foundry’, the company quickly became the leading name in solid fuel appliances. Today, Parkray is based near Exeter in Devon. Parkray room heaters have been in existence for over 40 years, some of the older applainces (some 20, 30, 40 years old or in some cases even older) are still in existence and used daily by households all over the UK.  This is a testament to the build quality of some of these earlier Parkray models. As there are so many models and sizes of the Parkray, they can look very similar, however, the parts inside of them are different.  Some parts fit many appliances and others are more specific.