National Portrait Gallery, London

Project details:

  • Escalator Installation
  • Lift Installation
  • 25m long Escalator
  • Passenger Lifts
  • Platform Lift

Escalator and Lift Installations at the National Portrait Gallery

Originally established in 1856, the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) has been housed across various locations in London up until 1896, when it moved to its current location behind the National Gallery in Trafalgar Sq.

From July 2020 to June 2023, the Gallery was closed for major refurbishment. During this period, Jackson removed the existing lifts and escalator and installed five new MRL lifts, a platform lift and a 25m long escalator.

The replacement contract was awarded to Jackson after a number of discussions and site visits with the client and their consulting partners, and the submission of the detailed tender with an accompanying works programme schedule.

The installation part of our project started midway through 2021, with the five MRL lifts and one platform lift. Two of the MRL lifts were located in the new East Wing of the Gallery. The other three MRL lifts were located in the lobby adjacent to the Gallery’s main staircase.

Two of these lifts were configured as a duplex pair for visitor use, travelling from the ground to fourth floors. The third MRL lift is restricted to staff only and used for passenger and goods movement, travelling from basement level two to the fourth floor. The fourth lift provides wheelchair access and is adjacent to the Weston Wing’s staircase, which serves the two public floors and has a dynamic green bespoke interior finish.

Due to the size and weight of the existing and new escalator, Gilbert-Ash, the main contractor, had to temporarily reinforce a bridge that formed part of the redevelopment to provide safe access to move the escalator trusses. The new 25m escalator was fully assembled and tested at the factory, prior to it being broken down into four sections for shipment. Site delivery of the escalator sections was undertaken during the last week of March 2022.

The Jackson installation team, working on the escalator project, worked closely with the main contractor’s time frame, coordinating with the ongoing refurbishment and building works. Testing and commissioning of the new escalator, which takes passengers from the ground floor to the fourth floor level, was completed throughout April and May of 2023.

The National Portrait Gallery re-opened to the public on 22nd June 2023.

Photo: National Portrait Gallery’s new entrance and forecourt © Olivier Hess

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