There are few things that epitomises Britain more than her rich literary culture and from a cultural perspective, the British Library is truly a National Treasure Trove in every sense. As a bibliophile’s paradise, the British Library’s arts are abundant and being swept in a sea of scrolls and countless priceless arts is truly breath-taking. Housing artefacts such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook, Beatles manuscripts, Lindisfarne Gospels and The Magna Carta deciding what to see first was one of the most welcome dilemmas I had to face in a long time.
Before indulging the senses in what the Library offers the general public, (well over 150 million items of maps, manuscripts, magazines and music scores) I had to temporarily resist temptation and make a detour to the Knowledge Centre visiting one of Sesame Access’s stage lift installations carried out in the summer.
This unique installation is yet another versatile product that we have added to our growing range totalling 23 products and counting.
With 40 lifts at the British Library in total, Sesame’s bespoke stage lift is ‘truly special’. Richard Warren, Building and Projects Manager for 24 years at the Library gave me a live demonstration of the stage lift.
‘The original stage used to be extended with portable stage blocks which were cumbersome and labour intensive to move around. We decided to permanently extend the stage and include a bespoke and fully integrated platform lift. The Library has new lighter-weight stage furniture in place of the existing which was had heavy stainless steel framing’, according to Graham - Fabric Supervisor at the British Library , ‘It also required two members of staff to manoeuvre their heavy portable, stage lift in and out of the theatre.
With the Sesame stage lift now in place this has made life a lot easier for the Library’s hard working Audio Visual and Events Teams. Furniture can now be easily taken on and off the stage using the new lift.
Richard added, ‘’access could only be obtained from ‘stage right’ side of the stage which meant that wheelchair users had to travel an additional 11 metres to use the portable lift, whereas now with the permanent lift at ‘stage left’ side access from the Foyer is much easier’’.
In Richard’s words, this was not acceptable. He wanted, ‘to ensure sure all guest speakers using the stage had the best possible experience’.
Watching the Sesame stage lift glide silently up to stage level was a joy to behold. Clad in Maple panelling and with brass feature trims, wheelstop rails and handheld post, it is a ‘very welcome addition’ to the Knowledge Centre Theatre, mentioned Richard and ‘the near operational silence of the stage lift causes no disturbance to audiences or speakers.’
He was also mindful of the build quality when choosing the right stage lift option and the fact that he wanted a bespoke ‘discrete solution’ incorporated into the theatre helped free up usable access space.
In terms of aesthetics, brass removable wheel stops and trim interchangeable with flush brass filler caps was a must to compliment the look of the extended stage.
Impressively, Richard project managed the acquisition of the stage lift without assistance from an architect. Sesame worked in conjunction with the Library’s joinery company, Howard Brothers Joinery and with regular liaison between both parties and coordination of detailing this ensured the installation of a perfectly functioning integrated stage lift.
Another unseen unique feature that Richard commented on was the service tags we use. Each part of the lift which has been tested is verified and carefully tagged by our engineers with a sign to show the date and name of the engineer who serviced and tested each part. It is used every time an engineer visits and gives the client the peace of mind knowing which engineer serviced the lift and when.
To sum up Richard and his team are as delighted as Sesame Access with their newest addition to the Knowledge Centre.
The British Library’s modern and refurbished Knowledge Centre consists of a state-of-the-art theatre with a seating capacity of up to 255 and four break-out rooms all located around a central foyer with private bar. The functional space is ideal for conferences, presentations, ceremonies, lectures, launches and screenings. Situated in an ideal location between King’s Cross St Pancras International and Euston Station it is easily accessible. It can be booked on +44 (0)20 7412 7211 or alternatively CentralEventsTeam@bl.uk
Currently the British Library is exhibiting the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War exhibitionup until Tuesday 19th February 2019 and it is an eye catching display (excuse the pun King Harold) with thousands of artefacts to view.