For advice on anything concerning fireplaces, contact Impington-based Anglia Fireplaces
A leading light in fireplaces for over 30 years, this family-run company's expertise covers everything from traditional chimneys and twin wall insulated metal flues, to fuel efficiency, clean burn technology, exhaust systems and health and safety regulations.
Experts at the widely respected firm offer detailed help and advice, presented in a friendly, yet clear and concise way. There is often a great deal to consider when installing a fireplace – of any description – and Anglia can be there every step of the way to ensure homeowners make the right decision.
A recent installation they oversaw took place at the The Three Horseshoes, a picturesque thatched inn at Madingley (Anglia also works closely with golf clubs and restaurants, and also put in the fireplace at the Red Lion pub in Gratchester three years ago).
MD Nicola Harding commented on the watering hole in Madingley’s splendid new addition: “I think the pub has recently been taken back by the original owners, who had it some years ago, and they wanted to create an ambience. The fire they’d got wasn’t working properly, so they’ve opened up the existing fireplace and we’ve put a little wood-burning stove in there. It’s just to create an ‘oldy worldy’ atmosphere with a nice efficient stove unit.
“They’d had a gas fire, but it was quite an old gas fire and had stopped working. It was complicated to put in a new appliance, so they’ve reverted back to a wood burner.”
On the soaring popularity of wood-burning stoves, Ms Harding said: “I think people just like the notion of real flames. We’ve gone through the gas fire cycle, although having said that gas fires are still quite popular because of people’s lifestyles.
“But I think when you go into a pub or a restaurant, an open fire or a wood-burning stove just makes it more romantic – it’s more of a pleasure, I suppose. Men like poking fires and putting logs on and we ladies like sitting in front of a nice cosy fire, so it pleases everybody.
“The nice thing about a lot of the appliances now is that the glass does stay clean because years ago they used to go black.”
Ms Harding recalled: “Our business started with gas fires, really, and wood became quite popular a few years ago with people opening up their fireplaces again. When we first started the business 35 years ago, it was the gas flame effect fire; the artificial open log effect – no efficiency, no heat output, just warmth and a pretty picture.
“The business has changed since then – everything is driven more to efficiency and so open fire baskets, like you’d traditionally get in big inglenooks, are not heat efficient anymore. People want more from what they’re burning – they want more for their money, basically.”
Ms Harding explained that wood-burning stoves have increased the appeal of having a real fire because the user can generate more heat from it.
“We’ve seen the business go more towards wood over the years because people can control how much wood they’re burning,” she said, “whereas with gas, you’re committed once it’s on. With the gas prices going up and down, as they have in the past, people have reverted more to wood because they can control it. You can put one log on or you can put three logs on.”
Another important change concerns appearance. “In the 1980s and ‘90s, a lot of houses had not very pretty gas fires on the wall,” observed Ms Harding, “and now manufacturers have seen that people want more beauty out of the fire, rather than practicality.
“That’s where our business has moved; more towards an interior design product that gives off heat and is efficient because when people are decorating their rooms now, they’re looking at the overall vision – they’re not just: ‘Right, I need a fire’. It’s the whole look of the room, and a lot of the fires we do now – both gas and wood – are more bespoke, more design-oriented.”
Although traditional fireplaces are increasingly popular, Ms Harding has a few words of advice for anybody thinking of getting one: “Having a wood-burning fire is nice – the romantic side of it is nice – but then when you talk to the customer about can you store the logs, are you able to get a ready supply of logs – or do you just want to come in at seven o’ clock at night after a hard day’s work and flick a switch and the gas fire’s on?
“We talk people through the different options and it helps them think about what they really want and the possible impact on their lifestyle.”