Staircase broken, Cleveland Square

Sometimes I see flights that have been damaged “as if by magic”. This flight in a mansion block was on the brink of collapse when I went to see it. It seemed that something long and heavy must have been dropped on it as there were fresh chips in the treads and only a very hard impact could have done the damage –  no one ever admitted anything!

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As well as the chips,  a couple of the treads near the bottom of the flight had snapped just a few inches away from the wall. The fractures were on the diagonal – indicating that the treads broke in torsion, probably as a result of too much load on the flight.

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As a result of these cracks the whole flight moved quite dramatically – it is very surprising to me that it managed to stay up!

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Note how the metal band under the timber handrail is distorting – providing no help to keep the flight up.

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It transpired much later that some builders may have carried some steel beams up the stairs to one of the upper flats at the time of the damage.