In 2019 we were asked to design a cost effective staircase to a viewing platform at the top of the Knebworth House Watchtower as part of the restoration project  funded by Historic England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Historic Houses Foundation.


Our challenge was to produce 3 flights with 2 intermediate floor levels, allowing for compliance with building regulations, public safety, and to reach the top at the correct place, ensuring the correct headheights and pitch were achieved.


We came up with a modular design, with maximum flexibility to accommodate any unforeseen complexities on site – such as fireplaces and the position of beams to the hatch at the top!


In order to keep costs and carbon footprint to an absolute minimum, we used oak sourced from the woods belonging to Knebworth Estates from trees which had been felled as part of the woodland management plan and reclaimed iron railings from the old Estate boundary which became spindles and tie bars between the stringers; We commissioned specially designed hinged brackets to be fabricated by a local metalworker and sourced handmade rope from a traditional ropemakers in the Yorkshire Dales.


We were pleased to complete the stairs on time and on budget in March 2020 and they can be visited when Knebworth House is open to the public.