The London Hippodrome has had more lives than a trapeze artist in a circus. First opened as a circus variety theatre in 1900 this famous London landmark building has opened its doors once again, this time as a super-stylish international casino, theatre and dining venue.
At the heart of this amazing building is the need for customers, staff and goods to move efficiently and, where possible, stylishly around the building. British lift company Stannah, established in the 1860s, relished the opportunity to install fourteen lifts into this restoration project without compromising the heritage of this amazing building.
The star of the show is a new 5-person 357kg hydraulic scenic bespoke lift, installed in an existing lift shaft and retaining the ‘caged’ surround from the original 1930s styling. Additional finer mesh was added to ensure optimum safety, within which is a modern completely glass lift car with no lift workings showing within the shaft. This is achieved with direct-acting hydraulics using a telescopic ram, to facilitate a reduced overall length to the piston, that goes through the basement and into a small bore hole (1470mm deep). Below this is Leicester Square station. This lift travels from the ground floor over 4-stops and is considered to be used primarily for VIPs.
Tucked just around the corner is a duplex of Stannah Xtralifts.These lifts are designed for 13 passengers, 1000kg, to travel over 5 floors. The lift cars are stretcher-style, through-car entrances with walls finished in spectacular decorated glass, stylish and beautifully finished ceilings and floor to match surrounding environments. Sitting beside the duplex lifts is an additional Xtralift (same size and format). This lift is currently used as a dedicated attendant-controlled goods lift serving back-of-house. The lift car finish is resilient stainless steel to suit its crucial role in the busy, yet calm environment of this 24-hour venue.
An additional 13-person bespoke Stannah lift is situated immediately inside the Little Newport Street side entrance, direct from the China Town district of London. The through-car lift, with adjacent entrances, features decorated glass wall panels. Because building works have affected the Chinese community in London’s China Town, the developer donated a Stannah platform lift to the Chinese community centre to improve their access over three floors as a thank you for their tolerance. The Stannah Midilift SL platform lift provides easy access over 3 floors from right inside the front door.
Behind the scenes in the Hippodrome several more Stannah lifts are solving access problems. A bespoke platform lift makes light work of a change in levels in the busy back of house area, whilst a Stannah Stairiser wheelchair platform lift ensures a flight of stairs does not present an insurmountable problem for wheelchair users wishing to access the Poker floor at the top of the building. The stairs lead to a further single-entrance Stannah Xtralift with an interior finished fully in textured stainless steel and designed to serve both front and back of house. This 5-stop lift has two restricted-use stops to provide additional support for back of house whilst front-of-house stops are for the Heliot Restaurant on the second floor and the Poker level on the fourth floor, situated on the highest balcony. From this elevated position there is a spectacular view across the stunning interior with its circus-ring structure that remains from 1900 and inspires the interior design of this new restoration.
The venue boasts a fine dining venue, the Heliot Restaurant and several other public and private dining areas on different floors. To guarantee excellent customer service four Stannah Microlifts (dumbwaiter food lifts) work hard behind the scenes, transporting food and drink and clearing dining areas to and from the kitchens.
A further Microlift performs the crucial role of collecting the proceeds from the gaming floors - quite a unique use for Stannah’s workhorse service lift that has been known to move just about everything over the years.
The whole project was managed by the Stannah major projects team who specialise in working closely with developers, architects and contractors to provide a package of lifts to maximise the flow of people and goods within buildings. All the lifts will be maintained by the London and South East branches of Stannah Lift Services, part of a nationwide network of lift support for Stannah and most other suppliers of lift products.