Copper item behind fireplace

10 Jan 2017
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United Kingdom
I have installed a hit and miss vent in the kitchen chimney breast as the flue is uncapped and we were getting a minor efflorescence on the plaster. Unfortunately I still can't get an airflow so presume the soot and rubble in there is blocking any movement of air and is probably just absorbing moisture from rain falling down the chimney. Need to get the flue capped I think.

I removed most of a brick through stitch drilling and when peering in can see a thick-looking oblong copper item which extends beyond side towards both ends of the chimney breast. It has a black coating which at first made me think it was cast iron, but when scraping it becomes clear it is copper.

I'll post a picture tomorrow evening but in the meantime I'm just wondering what it could be. I don't think it's a pipe as it has a flat face (curved edge) and there is also a hole in it. I haven't yet determined how far wide and tall it goes but it sits above the rubble/dust/soot below it at about 4" off the floor. The chimney was bricked up at some point using bricks on their side (the frogs point inward towards the party wall).

Back boiler? Conduit? I know none of us are mind readers but anything to feed the curiosity before I post a picture would be great. The gas and water feeds into the house are on the opposite side of the kitchen (original locations). Just wondering what item in a fireplace may have used copper. House is 1947.
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It's possibly a "copper" or back boiler. Very common in houses up until the 1950s. Most have been ripped-out over the years as central heating was installed (they fetch good money for scrap as they are all copper - the black is probably tar and soot)
I did wonder if it would be but it was just odd (to me) for it to be just above floor level. I’ve seen the boilers incorporatd into a fireplace surround (instead of the shoe box sized ones) but again the positioning was odd — I thought they were higher up.

Will post a picture tonight.

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