The Tower of London

Project Description

The White Tower at the Tower of London is thought to date back to 1077 and is one of Europe’s most important monuments. It is believed that originally the south entrance, which is some 6.4 metres above ground level, was accessed from a wooden staircase. The south door was returned to use in 1973 via a wooden staircase after 300 years of disuse, but after 40 years of heavy daily use, it was recognised that it required replacement.

The Challenge

The design brief from Historic Royal Palaces was that the replacement staircase should be as historically authentic as possible. This bought with it many challenges from sourcing long structural timbers to working with skills and methods from ancient times.

One of the demands was to select full width quarter sawn heavy section seasoned English Oak for the treads and handrails to ensure stability for the inset lighting and other design details such as the need to allow the removal and replacement of the contact areas such as treads, as they wear with the high-volume use that was expected on this historic feature. 

The Results

A truly unique Oak structure displaying traditional methods and skills of workmanship that blend perfectly with the surroundings, providing up to two million visitors every year who visit the tower the opportunity to learn about our amazing heritage.

Additional Information

CLIENTS: Historic Royal Palaces

ARCHITECT: Radley House Partnership

MAIN CONTRACTOR: I J P Owlsworth / Miles & co


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