A CAPITAL townhouse with a unique “invisible” wheelchair lift hidden in the external steps has gone on sale.
The remarkable piece of engineering was installed at a cost of around £100,000 by multiple sclerosis sufferer Dr Angelica Goodden.
The retired Oxford University historian was faced with major problems as she realised she would soon no longer be able to safely access the late Georgian A-listed Town house due to her debilitating condition.
But now as she heads south of the Border to be closer to family she leaves behind an ingenious piece of engineering, installed through her desire to preserve the existing fabric of the property in Gayfield Square.
Dr Goodden commissioned a team of experts to create a lift access to the ground floor, via the existing entrance staircase.
“I have had MS for years but reached the age where it will get worse,” she said. “I don’t want to give up and when wheelchair-bound I intend to wheel myself everywhere.
Unlike common disabled lift solutions, which are often temporary and unsightly, this project conceals the lift completely when not in operation
Working with Sesame Access, a specialist stair lift company, a vertical retracting lift solution was developed. It works by lowering a section of the existing staircase down level with the pavement, allowing a wheelchair user to easily board, and then rises up to meet floor level at the entrance door.And despite the cost Dr Gooden said she was thrilled with the result, and the freedom it allowed her.
“It’s shocking something like this cost the best part of £100,000 but it will be a marvellous aid for the right kind of family who perhaps need such a device,” she said.
“It is a work of art and it was all worth it from a disability and an aesthetic point of view.
“It feels like best use of money I’ve made in my life.; It was very important to have won back the freedom I felt I did not have for a long time.”
The project – the first of its kind in Scotland – sets a precedent for accommodating disabled access whilst conserving the historic property.
A spokesman for selling agents McEwan Fraser Legal said: “Dr Goodden installed these modern features to allow her to live in a period property rather than having to move to a modern home.”