Matheson Dome, National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh

Matheson Dome, National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh

Type of works: Supply and installation of a specially-designed service lift.

Husbands, based in Birmingham, won the contract to supply a specially-designed lift to fit into the historical Matheson Dome at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh. This is part of a multi-million pound refurbishment of the National Archives to create the Scottish Family History Centre which will be a major centre for genealogy research and will open later this year. 
Husbands, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of service lifts, provided a 100kg lift which has been designed to transport thousands of large registers across five floors within the curvature of the dome.
The lift is clad with 30 individually-made curved panels designed to fit the contours of the dome, and finished in a special pearlescent powder-coated paint. Mesh guarding and wrought ironwork is a feature of the historic building, and the lift has been fitted with special brackets to interface with these features. The specification also called for an extra tall car, which stops twice on each floor to enable staff to unload the heavy registers safely and efficiently.
According to Husband’s Managing Director, Keith Holmes, the aesthetic look of the lift was as important as its efficient operation. He comments:
“The National Archives of Scotland were keen that the new lift in the historical Matheson Dome should be of a shape and appearance to enhance the refurbished building. We believe the impact of the smooth stainless steel tower with its clean lines and no visible fixings set within the magnificent dome structure is visually very strong and appealing. We were able to meet the exact requirements for technical and aesthetic details and so won this contract against stiff opposition”.
Husbands has won a similar contract for a book-hoist lift from Birmingham Central Library. The company has recently fitted a lift, which will also carry a number of registers across two floors in the historical section of the library.
The lift had to be located on a specially reinforced steel frame, manufactured by Husbands, which enabled the car to spread its load across concrete beams, which are an integral part of this 1960’s concrete structure. The manufacture of the lift and all fabrication was carried out at the company’s Halesowen manufacturing plant in Shelah Road. The lift was clad in a blue laminate to the requirements of the library’s procurement team.
The two contracts are worth around £40,000 to the company.

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 Shelah Rd, Halesowen, W Midlands, B63 3PP


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