London gem joins Fit for the Future Network

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A secret gem that's been in the heart of London for more than 600 years, and visited by every monarch in history, has called on the Fit for the Future Network for some energy saving advice.

Walking through the busy streets of Farringdon you might not know it’s there, but the Charterhouse has been running as an almshouse since 1611 offering respite and care to vulnerable, elderly gentlemen. The 7.5 acre oasis is home to 42 Brothers from all walks of life.

Boasting a mix of architecture stretching back to 1371 when the site was originally a Carthusian Monastery, the Charterhouse is a national gem, and not just because every monarch in history has been inside the Great Chamber, where James and Elizabeth I held court.

Support for a 10-year plan

Now the Charterhouse is embarking on an ambitious ten-year plan to open up some of the buildings to the public and make them more energy efficient.

The charity has joined a community of 50 organisations that are part of the Fit for the Future Network, which was founded in 2013 with the aim of sharing practical lessons learned on environmental management projects.

The network has started to help the Charterhouse to find innovative ways around some age-old energy problems; what measures, appropriate for the elderly, can you install in the Brothers’ flats so that they are able to control their own heating? Can you retrofit the heritage glass-panes in the on-site hospital so the Brothers do not over-heat when the sun shines directly in?

Safeguarding special places

Charlie Hobson, Master at the Charterhouse, said: 'There are a huge number of historically important buildings which we need to make sure aren’t damaged by the changing environment or rising energy costs. Making them more energy efficient is one of the ways we can safeguard them, but maintaining their historical integrity is vital.

'Joining the Network has been fantastic for us because so many of the members have exactly the experience on retrofitting heritage buildings that we need. By working with others we can make sure the Charterhouse is around to offer support and care for future generations of Brothers.'

Match-making


Since launching, the Network has been busy linking members up with each other in order to share best practice and collaborate, and members are already seeing the benefit; Chatsworth House has used the Network with help on their Renewable Heat Incentive application, the RSPB has linked up with us to develop behaviour change programmes, and St Lawrence Primary School in Kent has been working with Heritage Lighting to make their school more energy efficient.