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Bringing Victorian Style to an External Staircase & Balcony

16 October 2018

London Railing11


When working with period homes, you must be able to handle the occasional obstacle. Quirky building features and tougher planning requirements are common issues. We had to deal with both on a recent external staircase and balcony order which included a decorative metal side-screen.


The staircase was manufactured for a 19th Century villa located within a conservation zone in the West Midlands. The three-storey property had been extensively refurbished in the past with a double storey extension constructed at the rear and a top storey conversion to create a separate apartment.  To provide dedicated access to the apartment, an industrial style metal staircase had also been fitted.

In 2016, owners Kathy and Martin Gomberg decided to sensitively refurbish the rear elevation, fitting traditional style sash windows and replacing the extension with a single storey, pitched roof design that echoes the main body of the house. To complete the refreshed aesthetic, the couple also chose to replace the functional external staircase.

A Bespoke Solution

“We wanted an attractive, space efficient replacement that suited our house’s style better,” Kathy Gomberg explained. “We came across British Spirals & Castings on a web search and their Victorian range staircases seemed ideal. ”

Once the Gombergs got in touch, our design team discussed the particular project requirements and showed them some of the available options. The final design featured an 1830 mm diameter cast aluminium Victorian spiral staircase with decorative spindles. The balcony was also cast aluminium and included perforated metal landing plates. This allowed easy drainage and improved daylight in the space below.

One of the conditions of the planning application was that a 1.8 metre tall privacy screen was fitted on the side of the balcony facing a neighbouring property. We created a bespoke design for this application. As with all our cast aluminium staircases and railings, the design was then crafted by our specialist foundry in Staffordshire. All of the items were then sent to our workshop for tooling and to be powder coated black.

“We feel the sensitive design of the staircase and balcony helped us to gain planning approval for our alterations and the assent of the council’s conservation officer to the details,” Kathy Gomberg said.

Onsite Challenges

Once we had manufactured the pieces, they were carefully packed up and delivered to site ready to be fitted. This would normally be the end of the manufacturing process for us but damage to the original building wall meant that a “false wall” one brick thick had to be constructed over the original rear façade. As a result, the landing ended up being slightly more than 10 cm out from the doorway on the first floor.

“British Spirals & Castings were quick to respond to our request for a further baluster and an extra newel post to fill the gap,” Kathy Gomberg said. “This ensured the landing is safe and satisfies building regulations.

“In fact, the staircase looks stunning in situ and really enhances the building’s period feel. I’d also like to mention how extremely helpful and friendly Ben Harding and the rest of his team have been at every step of the project. Their customer service is outstanding!”

British Spirals & Castings offer staircases, balconies and railings in a wide range of traditional and modern designs. Whatever your requirements, we can supply a bespoke solution backed up with friendly customer service. Take a look at the design on our website or come visit our showroom here in Derbyshire and we’ll help you find your perfect match.

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