Every Royal Palace needs its own Stairlift…

Mobility Scooters and Stairlifts for the Royals

The not-so-humble beginnings of the mobility aid industry is due to non other than King Henry the VIII it has been revealed.

Famous mainly for his collection of wives, his enjoyment of food and drink and his cantancarous nature, Henry VIII was also the first known owner of his own stairlift or ‘stairthrone’ used whilst inebriated or when hauling his hefty 30 stone frame upstairs became a bit too much work.

A cleverly devised system of blocks and pulleys was utilised to elevate the King onto the first floor. Described in the royal records as ‘a chair…that goeth up and down’, the stairlift was installed at Whitehall Palace, London where it lifted the King up a 20ft staircase.

In addition the King owned his own mobility scooters, essentially thrones with wheels so that he could glide around his royal quarters.

Sadly there is no pictorial evidence of the stairlift, but the system would have involved many servants pulling on ropes to lift the monarch’s body.

In addition to his ‘stairlift’, Henry had three wheelchairs – ‘amazingly luxurious thrones on wheels’ – in which he would be wheeled around his palaces.

So it is fair to say the stairlift has come a fair distance since Henry’s time.

Until recently the first stairlift was thought to have been made in 1930 in Pennsylvania, by CC Crispen, a self-taught engineer.

The British company Stannah intorduced their first stairlift in 1974 and are one of the leading stairlift manufacturers today.

Patrick Stannah, a relation of the company’s founder, said: ‘Stannah Stairlifts was surprised but pleased that someone had the inventiveness to make a stairlift for Henry VIII.

The stairlifts of today have developed massively since then but if he was alive today he’d be pleased to know that we make them for people of all shapes and sizes. and can fit any type of staircase – even Royal ones!”

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