SCAFFOLDING TO REACH OVER THE DINING ROOM TABLE
Perched high above the Debdon Burn in Northumberland sits the National Trust’s Cragside, the revolutionary home of Lord Armstrong, a Victorian inventor and garden landscaper extraordinaire.
If he could come back today he would be fascinated to see – and climb – the intriguing LOBO System. The Trust has bought it to help maintain and clean the high points of the meandering stairs and reach other difficult to access areas of the house.
LOBO is an innovative work platform that can be configured to meet any access application, allowing operatives to reach difficult locations and still comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. It is currently used on a wide range of applications from maintaining the space shuttle in the US to cleaning hanging wall tapestries in stately homes.
It is put together without any tools and its unique, patented clamps provide a safe and secure working facility up to a maximum height of 10 metres. “The ceiling in the drawing room is approximately 7 metres high and to reach it for cleaning and maintenance is a real challenge.
We also have the large oak Capstan Table in the dining room. It is very heavy and the top is flexible and we cannot easily move it. The LOBO is very convenient because we can stretch over the top and access other high areas of the room” said Cragside house manager, Paul Hawkins.
“Its other great advantage is flexibility and ease of assembly. It is a great asset if any emergencies arise where we need access to normally inaccessible places. Also, with the limited storage space we have available, LOBO can be split into relatively small sections and stored away until it is needed again.”
The 200,000 people who visit Cragside each year never see LOBO but are all delighted that inaccessible locations are spotlessly clean and dust free thanks to its unique accessibility. Lord Armstrong was an inveterate inventor and Cragside is crammed full of ingenious gadgets.
It was one of the first houses in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity. The gardens boast Europe’s largest hand-made rock garden. The estate is one of the last remaining shelters for red squirrels in England.
“He would have been delighted to see that another British invention, LOBO, is being used by us to maintain his very unique home,” added Paul.