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Apollo Fire Detectors, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is helping to keep landmark sites throughout the city of Bristol ship-shape. Multi Alarm GB, one of Apollo’s first customers, is largely responsible for the success of their fire detectors in the Bristol area. They are currently part of a £10.5 million project to restore Brunel’s SS Great Britain – the world’s first ocean going, propeller-driven iron ship – as a major tourist attraction.

“Apollo-based fire detection systems have proved so popular over the years that it is virtually impossible to look in any direction from Bristol city centre without seeing a building fitted with Apollo devices,” commented Neil Skuse, chairman of Multi Alarm GB. As well as numerous student accommodation blocks and new commercial buildings around Bristol, Apollo applications include historic and civic structures such as the Council House, the Central Library, the City Museum and Bristol Cathedral.

The Council House was begun in 1938, but not completed until well after the Second World War. It was officially opened by the Queen in 1965. As the seat of local government, the building not only houses the Council Chamber, but also the Lord Mayor’s Reception Room. Multi Alarm GB equipped the building with a networked fire detection system that incorporates 680 Apollo Discovery intelligent fire detectors and devices, including beam detectors.

Bristol’s Central Library was designed by Charles Holden and is an important architectural example of the Modern Movement. The current building dates from the early 20th century, although Bristol can claim to have one of the earliest public libraries in England, founded in 1613. The Library has recently been refurbished to meet DDA requirements. A new fire detection system based on Apollo XP95 analogue addressable fire detectors was installed at the same time. The fire system comprises a four loop IFAX control panel and 260 addressable devices. It was designed in consultation with English Heritage.

The City Museum and Art Gallery is housed in an Edwardian Baroque-style building. The listed structure and its contents are protected by around 440 Apollo XP95 devices, and an eight-loop control panel.

Bristol Cathedral is a site of great historical interest. There has been a church on the site for over 1,000 years: the original building was an abbey church dedicated to St Augustine the Great. The church became a cathedral in the Reformation in 1540 and was re-dedicated to The Holy and Undivided Trinity. The current structure includes the Chapter House, dating from the Norman period, and a Mediaeval Choir with intricate wooden carvings. The Western towers and the nave date from the 19th century.

In addition to providing adequate fire protection for this historic site, Multi Alarm GB had to take into account the fact that the Cathedral is a living church. The fire detection system, which is based on Apollo XP95 fire detectors, includes an air sampling unit and has a special “incense mode” that allows church services where incense is burnt to proceed without triggering false alarms.

Other historic sites in Bristol protected with Apollo fire detection systems include Protheroes Warehouse, a 19th century building now converted into offices and apartments, and Brunel House, the first hotel built to cater specifically for railway passengers.

However, it is the Colston Hall in Bristol that contains a little piece of Apollo history. This auditorium has a Grade II listed façade of Bristol Byzantine brick and tile work. Sixteen years ago Multi Alarm GB equipped the building with a fire detection system based on Series 90, Apollo’s first range of analogue addressable fire detectors. It was the first analogue addressable system that Multi Alarm GB had installed and made the Colston Hall one of the first buildings in the UK to be protected with the new technology. The system is still in full working order!

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