Detachable stair rail

Project    /  Status:

Church steps handrail

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The challenge

This rather unusual request came from the Parochial Church Council of St. Peter’s Church, Wootton Wawen, which is the oldest church in Warwickshire and one of the oldest structures in the Midlands. Near Stratford-upon-Avon, its tower dates back to the 900s, if not earlier.

Entry to the church is through a pair of large inward-opening oak doors, which lead directly onto two large descending stone steps. But there is no handrail. The congregation includes many elderly people, most of whom have difficulty negotiating the steps without the use of a support. Could Remap supply some device or other to make it easier to negotiate the steps?

See video.

The solution

The steps are 14″ high, so a ramp was out of the question. It would have to be 14 feet long and far too bulky to be left in position, and too heavy to be moved and stored. Some sort of handrail was the only feasible solution. But there was a big catch: no part of the church or doors could be modified in any way, and it was forbidden to drill holes into anything! Whatever was supplied had to be quick and easy to install and remove, and, above all, had to be really stable and secure, with no possibility of coming loose and causing an accident.

The basis of the solution is a collapsible triangle, or A-frame, on its side. Each corner is hinged and has a hard nylon pad where it fits to the door. A handrail is incorporated into one arm of the frame which had to be accurately adjusted to provide a tight fit to the ancient door.

The benefit

Before the start of each service, the doors are opened and the handrail fitted. The congregation then enters the church with more confidence because of the handrail. After the service the device is removed and stored inside the church.

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