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Environment and History

Atmospheric Pollution and Stone Degradation in Nineteenth Century Exeter

Rob Inkpen

Environment and History 5(1999): 209-220

Over the nineteenth century the spatial pattern of coal use in Exeter changes little, particularly near to the cathedral. Localised sources of pollution, such as the heating of the cathedral itself may, in this context, be important sources of potentially damaging pollutants. By the end of the nineteenth century coal use in Exeter of approximately 33,000 tons is at a similar level to Oxford. Restoration and repair costs vary over the nineteenth century, but seem to bear little relationship to the changes in coal use. Detailed examination of the fabric records suggests that there is no simple, direct relationship between coal use and fabric repair costs. Complicating the relationship are a whole set of complex human systems involved in identification of decay, the style of restoration and management of the repair work.

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