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Striking Wheelchair Lift for Historic Library

Durham University recently spent £2.9m refurbishing its Palace Green Library, which stands in the historic town’s heart between the cathedral and the castle. movemanSKG installed a Prestige A401 wheelchair lift that allows less able visitors to access new exhibition space on the upper floor.

Established in 1833, Palace Green Library holds early printed books, archives and other special collections. These include over 100 medieval manuscripts, artefacts, over 70,000 books printed before 1850, maps, prints, and over 100,000 photographs.

The refurbishment is the first phase of an outreach program to make the university more accessible to the public. Future plans include a new conservation room and further reading rooms.

To comply with Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) requirements Durham University made the new exhibition space wheelchair accessible. The library is Grade II listed and changes must not compromise its historical integrity.

movemanSKG’s Prestige A401 platform lift is different because it runs on a belt-drive system as opposed to screw drive. This allows customers to specify glazing in all four sides of the shaft, which gives the unit a subtle, nonintrusive appearance. Prestige A401 is available in a range of colours and materials.

Durham University opted for full glazing along with a stainless steel finish and external lighting. The result is a superb-looking lift, which blends seamlessly with its surroundings.

Michael Forster, Project Manager at Durham University, is delighted; "We wanted parts of Palace Green Library to have a modern, contemporary look. Prestige A401 is a handsome unit that does not obscure the original building features. It really is a testament to movemanSKG’s outstanding reputation in the lift industry. Our first exhibition is called ‘Treasures of the University’. It opens to the public soon, but we can rest safe in the knowledge that it will be accessible to people with mobility problems."

Palace Green Library’s Prestige A401 lifts 400kg and travels approximately 4m between two landings. It resides in a shallow pit to sit flush with the floor, simplifying entry for wheelchair users.

Because Prestige A401 is belt-driven, it does not require oil changes like hydraulic units. This means no waste oil to dispose of or messy leaks, making the lift environmentally-friendly and easy to maintain. It runs quietly too, minimising disruption to work areas.

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