It is an amazing staircase. Viewed from any angle––above; below; from one of the landings––it is an incredible structure of interlocking and interweaving treads, steps and risers. Looking down from the very top, do you know what I want? What I really, really want? I really wanna zigazig ah all the way down the highly polished bannisters to the ground floor.
Originally designed in the 1870s by George Gilbert Scott as the grand staircase for the Midland Grand Hotel, it is now possible to enjoy the beautiful construction as a guest of the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel.
In an age when most people choose to take the lift rather than climb a few steps, I have the staircase to myself. The exclusivity makes me feel furtive; makes me behave furtive.
Despite being a bona fide, paid-up guest, I feel like I am somehow trespassing; will be asked to prove my credentials at any moment; inelegantly escorted from the premises. In the face of such magnificent grandeur, I am Wayne-and-Garth not worthy.
And yet, the carpet… it’s not really to my taste. A bit too busy for my own house. And the décor. Is it almost so OTT to be kitsch? And the associations. I’ve never been a Spice Girls fan.
Bugger it. I’m going to go for it anyway. No one is watching. Bannister-surfing. One leg up and over. And I slam my body down and I zigazig ah.
© E. C. Glendenny
Travel writer E. C. Glendenny loves to ride a highly polished bannister.
[…] features, they seem to have the greatest capacity for beauty. Previously, I have admired George Gilbert Scott’s fine staircase in the Renaissance Hotel at St Pancras, and the magnificent spiral sweep of the Scala Contarini del Bovolo in Venice. In order to visit […]