Barristers’ Chambers 7BR has invested in state-of-the-art disabled access to transform the accessibility of its Grade II Listed home.
6 & 7 Bedford Row have been home to Chambers since 2004, but it has been an ongoing challenge to retain the eighteenth-century building’s architectural integrity whilst also ensuring facilities are in-keeping with 7BR’s core values of equality, diversity, and inclusivity. They are delighted to have found a solution to the issue: ‘Sesame Steps’ installed by Sesame Access Systems – an innovative specialist lift company.
The Steps work by hydraulically concealing the lift when not in use. On approaching the Steps, the lift can be independently operated to allow a seamless entrance into the building for all users.
Commenting on the installation of the Sesame Steps, 7BR’s Chief Executive Harry Charlton, said:
“Inclusivity is an integral part of 7BR’s DNA. We are looking to be as accessible as possible, whether it is the language we use, the way we explain the legal tests and processes, or the way we take care of a case. For us it was absolutely vital we found a way to ensure all the building’s users could enter and leave independently, with dignity and in comfort. In this context the Sesame Steps have been transformational.
“We recognise that for many of our clients, coming into Chambers is stressful enough in itself without worrying about how they will get in or whether they can reach an accessible toilet. We wanted to reduce that anxiety.”
“Grappling with the restrictions of a historic building whilst trying to modernise and improve accessibly is a real issue for the legal industry. Many Chambers, law firms and Courts up and down the country are housed in listed properties. We’ve found a solution for us. It was a significant investment but we are committed to inclusivity and this is what it took. This, of course, is not the end of the process. We want to deepen our understanding of diversity and to initiate active solutions to inequality wherever we can. The transformation of our front of house access is part of the accessibility journey to becoming truly inclusive.”
7BR’s recent internal refurbishment included extensive work to ensure the facilities are accessible, including lowering the reception desk for wheelchair users, ensuring control panels for alarms and lights were at an appropriate height, installing internal stairlifts, and undertaking significant investment in A-V and technology to allow Members and clients to interact as seamlessly as possible.