Historical heritage sites around the UK bring in millions of tourists every year. People travel from all over the country, as well as the rest of the world, to see some of the famous historic sights we have on offer. They remain an important cultural feature of our landscape and exist today thanks to charities like The National Trust, who preserve them in an ideal condition for our enjoyment and appreciation.
As a lot of these sites are under strict protection from construction, most people are under the impression that if accessibility doesn’t exist now, then it never can.
With modern developments in lift technology that doesn’t affect the underlying features of a building, or interfere with any masonry or stonework, accessibility features in historical buildings are now readily available, and can help those with disabilities and mobility issues gain access to sites they couldn’t access previously.
By embracing he challenges of providing access to everyone, lift companies have been able to protect the entire population from discrimination and ensuring our historical buildings remain culturally important and significant.
Most historical sights were not built with wheelchair and disabled access in mind. They have constantly changing levels, narrow, high or twisted access points, and over time these paths can be disrupted, and pathways made uneven. Through clever planning of accessibility solutions, we can overcome these limitations to physical access.
Aesthetic preservation has always been the main roadblock to installing disabled access. Traditional methods of access such as ramps and passenger lifts were unsuitable for installation due to what makes that building significant in the first place; if a staircase is part of the buildings appeal, it will affect the significance of the sight to install a stairlift.
It is through ‘hidden’ accessibility that companies have been able to design lifts to combat the problem.
Platform lifts that can recess into the floor of any surface and can feature the original floor material and pattern are now highly favoured, as when they are not in use, they are able to go undetected by the public.