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Gent solution protecting ‘Only Fools and Horses’ School

Gent solution protecting scene of iconic ‘Only Fools and Horses’ moment

Clayesmore School is an independent, co-educational day and boarding school for 2 to 18 year olds, set in the idyllic Dorset village of Iwerne Minster. The building is not only renowned for its top notch education and excellent exam results, it is also famous among local residents as a location for one of TV’s most iconic comedy moments from the classic sitcom, ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

The series producers chose Clayesmore’s Main House for the infamous scene when the character, ‘Grandad’, unscrews the wrong chandelier from the ceiling and sends it crashing to the ground. When it was aired, this episode – called ‘A Touch of Glass’ – saw 10 million viewers tune in to watch the Clayesmore based hilarity unfold.

The main school building has not only played a part in TV comedy history, but along with some of the boarding houses it has also recently undergone a complete refurbishment of the fire alarm and detection (FD&A) system, with a Gent by Honeywell solution selected to give the pupils, teachers and the property itself the ultimate form of protection.

In the last 12 months a brand new FD&A system has been fitted in the main school building, Manor House, and Wolverton, a separate property used as a girl’s boarding house. Wessex has been associated with the site for several years however there were a number of issues to overcome on this recent project.

Mark Taylor, Fire Business Development Manager for Wessex Fire & Security explained: “Installing the system in the girls’ boarding house posed some interesting challenges as it was carried out during term time. Logistically it had to be planned around specific time slots when students weren’t present, so the engineers could enter the building and carry out the work. It was very well organised and coordinated, and we were only on site for a month in total.”

The central school building, which is the main hub for pupils and teachers, also needed an FD&A solution that was tailored towards the variety of multi-use rooms. Part of the property is a striking old listed building, in addition there is the main dining room and kitchens, tutors’ flats as well as offices and library space. A category L1 system was selected for the building, and a Gent Vigilon solution with S-Quad sensors was fitted throughout.

Taylor continued: “The Gent system was by far the best one for this specific project, we had to ensure there would be minimum impact on the aesthetics of the listed part of the building and a system that had the flexibility to cope with such a challenging environment. From providing coverage in small accommodation block bathrooms through to the extensive live kitchens catering for the hundreds of students, the performance of the system has been very successful.”

The Gent solution incorporated more than 240 devices in total with the S-Quad multi-sensors playing a crucial part, as the sensing elements can provide the earliest fire detection and minimise false alarms in a range of applications and environments.

Taylor added: “We also installed the S-Quad sensors in two other accommodation blocks containing a multitude of small bedrooms and very narrow corridors, and a separate classroom block, so again it was a fairly challenging environment. The site currently has separate Gent FD&A systems installed throughout, and the next phase will be to link them all together via the school’s main IT network.”

Since the installation, the Gent FD&A systems have been in action providing the most robust form of protection for this stunning school with its funny claim to fame. The Gent solution will protect the school and its occupants from fire, but unfortunately it does not have the capability to prevent falling chandeliers.

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Wessex Group

Longmead Industrial Estate,
Wincombe Lane,

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