Students Staff

24 January 2020

Refurbishing our paternoster lift

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 11.26 am
Two people on the paternoster lift

The paternoster lift in the 1960s

We’re starting work on refurbishing our paternoster lift. We’ll be completely restoring the lift and taking the opportunity to introduce some new safety features, before it re-opens in September 2020.

The paternoster has been an important part of our library since it first opened in 1967.  It is one of just two lifts like it which are now left in the UK, so we’ve been planning the best way to make sure it can remain open and accessible for visitors to the Albert Sloman Library.

Work to refurbish the paternoster has already begun and over the next nine months we’ll be working with them to restore and update the lift.

These works will include:

  • Completely replacing the lifts drive gears and chain
  • Replacing the main control system with a modern high efficiency system
  • Installing a new vari-speed drive system, so the lift can easily be slowed down.
  • Updating all of the lift cars
  • Upgrading the lighting in the lift shaft
  • New safety features, like a traffic light system to help you get onto the lift

We’re working with ILECS, a specialist lift consultant, to manage this project. ILECS are one of the few companies who’ve previously worked on paternosters, including the one at the University of Sheffield. Updating our paternoster is a complex project and to undertake these works ILECS are working with a variety of specialist engineers, from specialist chain manufactures to steam engine engineers to make and cut the drive wheels.

The lift was originally built over fifty years ago by J&E Hall Ltd of Dartford, who manufactured paternosters from 1880 to 1968. Since then it’s been refurbished twice before in 1975 and 1995. Our lift is a chain of 14 open compartments that move in a loop up and down the library without stopping at about 20cm per second. Each compartment can carry two people and you can get on or off at any floor.

See the paternoster in action.

Keep up to date with all the works on the Library website.

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