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Paternoster Refurbishment

Information and updates on the paternoster refurbishment programme


This year we're refurbishing our iconic paternoster lift, with the aim of bringing it back into service for the start of academic year 2020/21. The lift will be fully restored with some added new safety features.

The paternoster has been an important part of our library since it first opened in 1967. It is one of just two lifts like it which are now left in the UK, so we’ve been planning the best way to make sure it can remain open and accessible for visitors to the Albert Sloman Library. It has been out of action since summer 2018, and work has been ongoing behind the scenes to organise resources and expertise to get it working again.

Works will include:

  • Completely replacing the lifts drive gears and chain
  • Replacing the main control system with a modern high efficiency system
  • Installing a new vari-speed drive system, so the lift can easily be slowed down
  • Updating all of the lift cars
  • Upgrading the lighting in the lift shaft
  • New safety features, like a traffic light system to help you get onto the lift

Key dates

Work will begin in December 2019.

There will be no onsite works during the exam period or graduation week.

We anticipate that the paternoster will be returned to service for the start of the new academic year in October 2020. However, because of the nature of the project, there may be unforeseen complications. We will update as things progress.

Help and further information

We will make every effort to keep disruption to a minimum whilst works are taking place, and will notify users of any periods of time/areas of the building that are likely to be particularly affected.

For information on how to get round the building whilst the paternoster remains out of service, see our information on alternative access routes. Details on our book fetching service are also available.

If you need any help while the refurbishment is taking place, please talk to a member of Library staff at the Helpdesk or around the building.

Paternoster lift - University of EssexPaternoster Lift - University of Essex Library