The National Lift Tower, Northampton, England
research, development, testing, training and marketing

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National Lift Tower

tel : +44(0)1604 587745
email : click here



  • Overview
  • 93 metre
  • Drop test
  • 40 metre ladder
  • 30 metre

Whilst the original purpose of the tower was to test lift products, the variety of accessible tall vertical spaces inside have meant that it has been used in ways that were not initially envisaged. As a result of these projects, the facilities in the building have been significantly enhanced over the past few years and are continually adapted to accommodate differing requirements.

Examples of projects completed in these spaces include ...

  • Research into the operation of a dual winching system for the oil and gas industry
  • Testing and type testing of a novel work positioning, fall arrest, resuce and climb assist product, primarily intended to be used in wind turbines
  • Type testing of a 30 metre escape chute used on ships and offshore platforms
  • Rope access training
  • Type testing of a novel fall arrest device for use on pylons in Germany
  • Fundraising abseils

For detailed information about each of these spaces, please click on the tabs above.

Highlights of the 93m vertical space include ...

  • Mobile camera rig moving at 2 m/s through the entire height of the shaft, with 4 cameras to observe and record experiments
  • CCTV surveillance and recording with a total of 11 cameras to cover the entire space (see video below)
  • Ground floor access
  • A sophisticated dual winching system capable of lifting a total of 8 tonnes
  • A 4 tonne test mass configurable in increments of 250kg
  • A 2MN loadcell for measuring the force of impacts
  • A speed measurement system

Video of the mobile camera rig moving up and down the shaft

Working platform on the 16th floor at the top of the 93m shaft Views down the 93m shaft from the working platform
Mobile camera rig and HD static cameras Winch room Inline pulley encoders for    payout measurement

Video of novel fall arrest system for pylons being tested

The drop test shaft was originally used to test safety equipment on lifts such as emergency breaks and buffers. It is 30m tall with a ten tonne hoist and an electric manriding cradle for installation and inspection of the equipment being tested. The shaft has dedicated via roller shutters on the ground floor to allow for easy installation of equipment.

A novel feature of this space is that a relatively weak section has been build into the floor of the shaft with a gravel bed underneath. In the event of an uncontrolled falling object, this feature prevents the foundations of the building from being damaged.

View down the test shaft Looking up to the 10 tonne crane Access ladder to midpoint platform

This 40m test void has a full height aluminium ladder installed of a type typically used in wind turbines and is therefore suitable for climber and and rescue training in those environments. It is also of use for companies developing, testing and marketing personal protection equipment for working at height.



The 30m is one of the most accessible spaces in the building, being located next to the emergency stairwell. A small platform has been installed at the top of the space. Most recently, this space was used for testing an escape chute used on marine vessels and platforms.


14th March 2017

Link to a story from Studor on a pretty windy day
at the tower.



28th Feb 2017. New training brochure available here


6th July 2016. Some fascinating pictures of the
tower being constructed have been added

12th May 2016. New brochure available.


13th July 2015. Drone flight up the full height of the tower.


Superfast broadband in Northampton - we have recently partnered with a local company to provide superfast broadband into areas of Northampton that currently do not have coverage. The name of the company is Barton Broadband and the website is here. Please get in touch if you would like to find out if coverage is available in your area.

For information on booking abseils at the tower, please follow this link to an external website.