The Houses of Parliament and Reid’s Inquiries into User Perception

  • Henrik SchoenefeldtEmail author


In the first half of the 19th-century building services were the subject of extensive experimental inquiries. In addition to technical trails these inquiries also covered research into human factors, such as the perception of indoor climates and air quality. This chapter investigates how studies into the nature of thermal comfort, undertaken under the direction of the physician David Boswell Reid, had informed the design of the environmental control system in the debating chamber of the UK Houses of Commons. The studies included experiments with test chambers, undertaken in Reid’s Laboratory between 1834 and 1836, and empirical observations inside the two temporary debating chambers for the Houses of Commons (1836–51) and Houses of Lords (1838–47). The debating chambers enabled Reid to test and refine his concepts under real-life conditions, involving politicians directly in the process of evaluating and improving the indoor climate.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Kent School of ArchitectureCanterburyUK

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