The traditional homes of Cheltenham were built without thermal insulation. The only original insulation is stuffed between the floorboards to reduce the transmission of noise between floors. The builders assumed that winter warmth would be provided by roaring fires; their focus was on the generation, not the conservation, of heat. Only now, in the twenty-first century, have these priorities been reversed.

In any building, most of the heat escapes through the walls, roof and floor. Insulation does not stop the heat loss but it does slow it down dramatically. Although traditional stone walls provide some protection against the cold, they are by no means ‘warm walls’. Heat passes through a 300mm limestone wall at about six times the speed it flows through a modern wall built to current building standards. Even when they perform at their very best, traditional homes are cold by modern standards.

Some parts of traditional homes are, however, a great deal easier to insulate than others. Your walls may make up the greatest area of the exposed skin of your home but the difficulty, cost and risks of insulating solid walls and their impact on the historic character of your home pushes them to the bottom of the priority list for insulation. The loft is the place to start, closely followed by your ground floor.