Description is of fluidized bed shell boiler arrangements in which the sides of the bed within the furnace tube are generally vertical, being provided by vertical walls within the furnace tube. The bed walls may include water tubes or be substantially vertical portions of arcuate panels mounted within the furnace tube. Fluidizing gas is fed to fluidizing gas ducts communicating with the bed from a plenum chamber including paddles movable into positions closing off at least some of the ducts during initial start up of the boiler to reduce the amount of combustible gas (or hot gases) fed to the ducts when heating the bed to its operating temperature.; The ducts may be formed by mounting halfround or U-shaped member on the bottom of the furnace tube, the ducts tapering along their lengths such that the gas passing into the bed exits at substantially the same velocity across the width and length of the bed. Control of the bed level is effected by determining if material is passing out of an aperture set in the bed wall at the height at which the bed is to be maintained and then adding or subtracting bed material as required.