Thousands of civil servants across Whitehall are entering their third day without functioning heating this morning. As Paul Waugh reported on Wednesday, a malfunction in the system serving government offices has left Sir Humphrey and friends feeling the chill.

In a design originating from the 1950s, the Whitehall District Heating System supplies Downing Street, the Cabinet Office, Foreign Office, Treasury and other buildings with hot water from boilers beneath the Ministry of Defence. Efforts to locate a fractured water pipe have seen engineers turn heating for different areas on and off in a seemingly pseudo-random “process of elimination”.

One cold civil servant told Scrapbook:

“The Fast Stream recruitment material never mentioned typing while wearing scarves and fingerless gloves. But that was what our office did today.”

Less heroic staffers led a mid-afternoon exodus to warmer locations within SW1.

  1. Meh. My office has no functioning central heating either, and not likely to until March (due to asbestos removal in the boiler house). The office door opens on to the outside (minus seven currently) and we have domestic fan heaters to keep the thaw off.

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