You can select one of the following two tours:

Tour 1 – iSEEP Visit 1st April, 9.30am to 1:30pm, Spirax Sarco Ltd. Cheltenham

Steam can heat or sterilise almost any industrial process. That’s why it’s often the first choice in so many applications around the world. From food producing to oil refining, beer making, and drug manufacturing companies, Steam is well known for delivering safe, sustainable and efficient energy.

This visit including coach pick-up and return from the conference hotel, will encompass a tour of manufacturing facilities and a tour of the Simon Sprackling Technology Centre which incorporates the most complete testing laboratory for steam and thermal energy solutions in the world. 

Tour 2 – iSEEP Visit 1st April, 9:30am to 1:30pm, Visit to Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral

A story 1,300 years in the making

Gloucester Cathedral has been a place of Christian worship continuously for over 1,300 years with Osric, an Anglo-Saxon prince, founding a religious house on the site in 678-9 AD. 

The Norman Abbey

At the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, the monastery was not thriving and in 1072 King William I appointed Serlo, a monk from Mont St Michel in Normandy to be its Abbot. An energetic, charismatic and devout man, Serlo built up the wealth of the monastery to the point where in 1089 he was able to start building the magnificent abbey church which so impresses the visitor today.

The Middle Ages

A wealthy and powerful institution with extensive landholdings in Gloucestershire and South Wales, the Abbey of St Peter (as it was known) had significant royal associations.

In 1216, Henry III, who had succeeded to the throne at the age of only nine, was crowned here. Major building works in the 13th century included a first Lady Chapel and new Tower and refectory. 

Most importantly for the subsequent history of this place, in 1327, King Edward II who had died in Berkeley Castle (in suspicious and, traditionally, gruesome circumstances) was buried here. A shrine-like monument was erected over the tomb of the dead king. Royal patronage and popular devotion led to funds flowing into the abbey, and these enabled the magnificent remodelling of the east end to be carried out in the very latest “Perpendicular” style.

In the 15th century further building work included the remodelling of the west end, the building of the south porch and of the present tower and finally, towards the end of the century, the present Lady Chapel.

The Dissolution and a New Foundation

Henry VIII ordered the monasteries to be dissolved and Gloucester Abbey surrendered in January 1540. The abbey buildings became Gloucester Cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of Gloucester in 1541. No longer a community of monks, it was to be led by a Dean and a chapter of canons.

Turbulent Centuries

The ideological and doctrinal struggles of the 16th and 17th centuries made their mark in Gloucester: Bishop Hooper was burned at the stake here in 1555 on the orders of the Catholic Queen Mary; in the 1620’s Bishop Miles Smith and his Dean, William Laud held profoundly different views on what the nature and style of Church of England should be.  

Bishop Hooper’s monument

Then under Oliver Cromwell there was a move to demolish the cathedral building altogether (it was saved by the intervention of the mayor and burgesses of the City of Gloucester).

Calmer Times

With the restoration of the monarchy (after the civil wars and Commonwealth period) in 1660, the Dean and Chapter resumed the running of the Cathedral and that is how it is managed today. 

Throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries they have carried out repairs and conservation work rather than rebuilding or remodelling the building. 

More importantly, Gloucester Cathedral has endured through the centuries as a place of Christian witness where God is worshipped, and the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed every day.