New Staircase into Paddington’s Level 4

Following the removal of the old wooden staircase, we were treated to the wonderful unobstructed view of this Cathedral like chamber in all its glory.

However, the down side to having this view meant that access was not possible to the lowest chamber by visitors. In fact, it was only accessible to ourselves with great care & only when absolutely necessary.

Level 4 after the removal of the staircase, possibly the fuirst time in many years this view has been seen by anyone.

So, following lots of research into designs for the different types and styles of staircases available, we finally decided that the most suitable and affordable option for our location and needs was the metal Haki scaffolding access tower with internal stairs which would be supplied and fitted by Cheshire Scaffolds.


We were overjoyed and grateful to receive the fantastic news from Subterranea Britannica that our application for a grant to help fund the fitting of the staircase into Level 4 had been accepted. We are extremely grateful that SubBrit have so generously gifted FoWT 100% of the purchase price for the stairs. As a thank you, FoWT will be having a plaque made in recognition and thanks fitted on the staircase.


On Wednesday 13th March 2019, the big day finally arrived. The lads from Cheshire Scaffolds came to Paddington at 8.30am with a giant 3D Jigsaw Puzzle, which would soon end up as our staircase. Several FoWT volunteers gathered, helping to carry the heavy metalwork from the delivery waggon, down into Level 3. Then each piece would be winched down into Level 4 as it was needed.

The New Staircase, part way through the day, not far from finished…

In addition, a camera and tripod had been set up on the large sandstone ledge at the end of Level 4, well out of harm’s way of the ongoing work. The idea was to record the progress throughout the day of the stairs being built. The unattended camera had its Interval Timer set up to take a single photograph every 2 minutes. The photos taken through the day have been made into a virtual Time Lapse video of the whole construction process. Several actual hours, condensed into just over 3 minutes. The video can be viewed above or by following:

We were amazed how quickly the lads built the tower containing the stairs and platforms. The whole structure was completed somewhat faster than we envisaged. We are delighted that the main stairs structure is now complete, though final tweaks are still required and will take place in the next week. This will happen before we take visitors on the steps. But once complete…

Welcome to the deepest point of Joseph Williamson’s Paddington chambers, an amazing 40 feet (12 metres) high, or 60 feet (18 metres) below street level…

The staircase at the end of the day, mostly finished. easy and safe access to Level 4 once again.

Supported by:

subbritCheshire Scafolds


  1. what a great difference it will make from the ladders especially to visitors who like me have slight mobility problem, i did enjoy my last visit cant wait to see it again, it looks like a cathedral now on the great pictures well done everyone. anne graham cumbria.

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