Tulip Stairs: History and Design Features

Tucked away in the stunning Queen’s House in Greenwich, visitors will discover the gorgeous Tulip Stairs. This winding spiral staircase boasts a fascinating history that will appeal to both architectural enthusiasts and social media enthusiasts alike.

Designed by architect Inigo Jones, the Queen’s House was initially intended as a residence for Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I. However, construction was delayed due to Anne’s untimely death in 1616. It wasn’t until 1629 that construction resumed, this time as a residence for Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I. Despite being home to an important art collection, including Elizabeth I’s Armada portrait, the Tulip Stairs remain one of the city’s lesser-known gems.

Key Takeaways

  • The Queen’s House in Greenwich houses the stunning Tulip Stairs, a winding spiral staircase with a fascinating history.
  • Designed by Inigo Jones, the Queen’s House was originally intended as a residence for Queen Consort Anne of Denmark.
  • Despite housing an important art collection, the Tulip Stairs remain a hidden gem in the city.

The Tulip Stairs

The Tulip Stair, located within The Queen’s House, is a remarkable architectural achievement. It is named after the intricate motifs on the iron railings, which are fleur de lys, the emblem of Henrietta Maria’s family, rather than tulips. The Tulip Stair is the UK’s first cantilevered spiral geometric staircase, and it is a self-supporting structure with no central column, which was inspired by the work of the 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio.

Nicholas Stone, Jones’ mason, devised an innovative solution to replace the central support, where steps were interlocked, with each step providing support to the next. The staircase’s elegance is further enhanced by the light that floods the stairwell from the centralised window and the elaborate ironwork. Visitors continue to be enchanted by this elegant piece of architecture today.

Ghost Stories

An Investigation into Paranormal Happenings

In 1966, a retired Canadian reverend and his wife, Mrs. R W Hardy, visited Queen’s House in Greenwich during their UK holiday. While taking pictures of the famous Tulip Stairs, the Reverend captured a photo of a ghostly figure that appeared to be chasing one or two other spectral shapes up the stairs. The couple claimed that the stairs were empty when they took the photo.

The photo inspired The Ghost Club, a paranormal investigation bureau, to investigate the haunting. They conducted a thorough investigation, including a séance, but found no evidence of paranormal activity. The case was eventually closed, and it was concluded that there are no ghosts on the Tulip Stairs.

However, in 2002, an unnamed Gallery Assistant reported seeing a figure “gliding across a balcony, dressed in an old-fashioned, white-grey dress and passing through a wall.” This sighting raises questions about the true nature of the haunting at Queen’s House.

Despite the lack of concrete evidence, the story of the haunting at Queen’s House continues to captivate people’s imaginations. It serves as a reminder that the line between reality and the supernatural can sometimes be blurred, and that there may be more to the world than what we can see with our own eyes.

Practical Information and Map For Visiting The Tulip Stairs

The Tulip Stairs is a popular tourist attraction located in the Queen’s House in Greenwich, London. Here are some practical information and a map to help visitors plan their visit:

LocationQueen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF, United Kingdom
Opening HoursDaily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Admission FeeFree
AccessibilityThe Tulip Stairs is not wheelchair accessible due to its narrow and steep staircase
PhotographyPhotography is allowed, but flash photography is prohibited
Guided ToursGuided tours are available for a fee

Visitors can reach the Queen’s House by taking the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) to Cutty Sark station or by taking the train to Greenwich station and walking for 10 minutes. The Tulip Stairs is located on the first floor of the Queen’s House and can be accessed by climbing the spiral staircase.

The Queen’s House is situated in the heart of Greenwich, a historic district of London that is home to many other attractions such as the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, and the Cutty Sark. Visitors can use the map below to plan their visit and explore the area.

Map of Greenwich

Overall, the Tulip Stairs is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in history and architecture. With its beautiful spiral staircase and stunning views of the Queen’s House, it is sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors.