This film is part of Free

Baxi-pak Open Fire Central Heating

Wokingham gets new houses warmed with the cutting-edge technology of the 60s.

Documentary 1964 6 mins


1960s Wokingham is in a wave of expansion, its proximity to London making it prime commuter belt. The new houses being built by developers True-Bond Homes are explicitly modern dwellings, with up to date construction, thermal insulation and central heating offering the promise of 'carefree heating comfort'. But open coal fires remain central to the houses, as if no hearth means no home, and the Baxi factory in Bamber Bridge, Lancashire, is racing to keep up with demand for home heating plants.

The year this film came out the UK was on the eve of discovering massive natural gas fields in the North Sea, the fuel that would displace coal's role in home heating. The promised central heating revolution would be delivered by gas boilers, not the Baxi-Pak.