Ladders and ladder steps

Cast- and wrought-iron work in ladders and stairs has a tradition that stems from the Industrial Revolution (Figures 7.1a and 7.1b). Another source is the spider's web of steps that straddle the Eiffel Tower. The lattice girders were designed as ladders to enable the repainting to be carried out without cradles or scaffold.

The addition of lightly framed steel stairs and handrailing can be less intrusive than masonry construction when making ruins accessible for tourists. At Rochester Castle, John Winter was asked to insert floors and add a roof to the open shell of the ruined tower. He was also asked to construct a staircase in such a position that the public could enter the castle

Figure 7.1a Cast-iron sectional spiral stairs, Palm House, Kew Gardens, London, 1844-8, Designers: Turner and Burton

Figure 7.1b Copper coated wrought-iron stairs, Stock Exchange Building, Chicago, 1893-4, Architects: Adler and Sullivan through the original doorway. It is not known how the original stairs or roof were constructed, so it was decided to make these modern structures, but to keep them discreet so that the famous views of the castle were not affected. The staircase is a simple structure of steel bars and plate with oak treads. It is

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Figure 7.1c Addition of external steel stairs to Rochester Castle for visitor access, 1990, John Winter (courtesy of John Donat)

finely detailed and makes a neat foil against the old stonework (Figure 7.1c).

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