Listed buildings in the UK are the nation’s pride and joy, providing greater insight into our rich history and used to deliver a host of services and events. But one problem that many of these buildings face is that they were not built to accommodate persons with disabilities. One man has set out to address this problem by designing bespoke platform stair lifts especially for listed buildings. His idea is now over two decades old, and his mobility solutions have now been installed in more than 200 buildings across the UK and beyond. Property owners who are keen to make their buildings more accessible to all users can get in touch with us today for a stairlift price quote.
In 1996, Charlie Lyons, founder of Sesame Access, was at a pub talking with a friend who was venting his frustrations at the London Art Gallery for not being accessible to people in wheelchairs. Lyons’ friend said that his wife wasn’t able to enjoy the gallery because he had been told the building couldn’t be modified to allow access for wheelchair users as it was a Grade I Listed Building.
As an accomplished hydraulic engineer, Lyons began to sketch out ideas to find a possible solution to this problem. When his son Steven graduated from university, they worked together to turn these sketches and ideas into a reality, building a prototype lift design in a shed in Staines.
The prototype was then used to perfect their design and improve its performance. After painstaking hours of development, the first Sesame lift was installed in Merchant Taylor’s Hall in Threadneedle Street in 1997. Although it has seen regular use for over 20 years, the lift continues to function as perfectly as the day it was installed.
Since that time, the team here at Sesame Access have installed our state-of-the-art stair lifts in listed buildings around the world. Some of our most notable clients include the Seattle Space Needle, Whitehall, Sydney Opera House, the Qatar National Library, the Bank of England, Kensington Palace, the Royal College of Music, Canary Wharf in London, the Institute of Civil Engineers, Oxford University, Cambridge University, an Apple Store in Strasbourg, France, and many more locations that have been keen to prioritise the welfare of people in wheelchairs or with other mobility problems.
When it comes to our stair lifts, there are many options to choose from. Each one is bespoke, meaning they can be designed to address any existing limitations within any building. What’s more, our lifts can be seamlessly integrated into any staircase and are completely invisible when not in use.
Over the years of working with various clients, Sesame has been able to push the boundaries and possibilities for various types of buildings. Among the designs we have perfected is the lift cycle. Our stair lifts move at an average speed of 150mm per second, but this can be adjusted according to the client’s requirements.
If you think your building would benefit from a Sesame lift to increase accessibility, the lead time is usually six to seven months. We work closely with the building’s architect and the client every step of the way to ensure the final design is entirely fit for purpose.
The design process usually takes around eight weeks, with ten weeks then allotted for the manufacturing of custom parts for the finalised design. Nine weeks are then required for assembly of the parts and quality checks, then the final two weeks are allotted for installation.
Needless to say, all our lifts are ADA-compliant. They are handmade in our workshop in Surrey, UK, with the main body made from high-quality, durable steel. All other components are manufactured from high-grade materials that are built to stand the test of time. Our lifts are designed to last for at least 25 years with regular servicing, and we provide all the support and maintenance needed to keep the lift fully in service long after that.
Throughout the years, the team at Sesame Access have installed our award-winning lifts in over 200 buildings, not just in the UK but across the world. This is a testament to the quality of our engineering and the passion that we have for our craft.
Our commitment to excellence in all aspects of our work has not gone unnoticed. In 2016, the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey presented us with The Grant of Appointment, signed by the Prime Minister and The Queen. His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, has visited our workshop to see the team at work. And the Sesame team has made such a big impression on the Royal Family that Her Majesty The Queen invited us to Buckingham Palace to be presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Other award-giving bodies have also recognised Sesame Access’ work. We have also received an Independent Living Design award and a Millennium Product marquee awarded by the Design Council in recognition of our creativity and innovation.
Fantastic Testimonials From Satisfied Wheelchair Users
Recognition from the Royal Family and award-giving bodies is immensely gratifying, but even more importantly, Sesame is committed to providing easy access to buildings for persons whose mobility is restricted and/ or use a wheelchair. Here on our website, you can find testimonials from a host of people who have been delighted with the functionality of our stair lifts.
Take Nina Muehlemann, for instance, a wheelchair user who got married at One Great George Street London. Wheelchair accessibility was one of her main concerns when selecting a venue for her big day, but when she found that there was one of Sesame’s platform stair lift models installed in the building, she knew that it was the perfect place to tie the knot.
When this bride arrived on her wedding day, the access lift made her feel “special, glamorous, and equal”. Not only was the entrance to the building stylish, it also had “a touch of magic” to it as the stairs disappeared to reveal the lift. The bride said that it added the perfect fairy-tale touch to their special day.
Another supporter of the Sesame lift concept is the director of the Wheels for Well Being charity, Isabelle Clement. When she recently attended a meeting at a venue in Central London, she was able to use the lift hidden within the main entrance’s steps to enter the building through the front door.
This is something most of us take for granted, but it’s a game-changer for wheelchair users. Instead of experiencing the wasted time and humiliation of having to access buildings via typically convoluted wheelchair routes through rear entrances and areas where no other guests would be taken, Sesame lifts enable everyone, regardless of their mobility, to use the proper entrance. The lifts are a game-changer, Clement said, and she hopes that these kinds of technological access solutions will become more prominent in more areas.
Bespoke Stair Lifts
With the technology available today, there’s no reason why practically any building owner should neglect to address accessibility issues for people with disabilities. If you have building you’d like to make more accessible and inclusive, you’ve come to the right place.
Sesame Access Systems is a bespoke stair lift company that offers unique accessibility solutions for users with disabilities for buildings of all types and styles.
Our company has worked with hundreds of satisfied clients around the world, and we are confident that we can provide you with a seamless solution.
If you want a quotation or broad details of our stairlifts prices or would like to discuss your building’s accessibility in further detail, feel free to call us today on 01784 440088.