Penpont Heritage Centre

Architectural Features

Cantilevered Staircase

In the first half of the 19th century most workmen’s cottages were single-storey. When William Thomson moved into this cottage people had begun to build staircases and open up an attic space to create a bedroom for their children. Most families were large so creating this additional space was a huge benefit for the children and in addition gave privacy to the adults.

William was a master stonemason so it is not surprising he would work with the material he knew best. This staircase is built entirely of sandstone. Stone staircases are usual in large houses and castles but extremely rare in small cottages but the way this staircase is made makes it all the more so.

Marks where kindlers were chopped

Each step is carved by hand from a single piece of sandstone. Each is then jointed into the wall and balanced on the step beneath (this type of construction is called cantilevered). The stones are built into a beautiful smooth sweeping spiral. If you look at the underside of the staircase you can see the individual steps and their joints.

William Thomson was clearly a master stonemason of great skill with a keen eye for design who in this staircase has created a unique and exceptional piece of vernacular architecture.

Look closely at the bottom stair and you will see marks where kindlers used to be chopped.

 If you would like to make a donation to the group, please click here to contact us. Thank you.



The Centre will open for the season on Saturday 7th April 2018, 2.00 - 4.00pm.  We will only be open on Saturdays during the season until further notice. We are happy to invite you to contact us to arrange a suitable time for a visit at other times. 


You can find the Post Office in the Joseph Thomson Room within the Centre on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons between 2.00 - 4.00pm.





We are pleased to have the Joseph Thomson Maasai Trust and the Olakira Le Maa Trust join our website. These new pages are: 

JT Maasai Trust

The Walk

The Olakira Le Maa Trust



 If you are looking for any heritage information please do not hesitate to contact us by clicking here.



We are planning to show some of the local films made by our Chairperson, Sophia Harkness during March 2018 and are also planning a talk by Hugh Buck, our secretary on his time in Kenya in the 60s. this will be introduced by Sophia.  Please check out the Forthcoming Events page for further information by clicking here.

Group Bookings

We welcome individuals, groups and school parties. Please contact us to arrange your booking.

Click here to Contact Us...

Become a Friend

Become a Friend

Would you like to help this Centre continue and flourish?

If YES you could:

1. Become a member.

2. Donate/loan materials to our archives.

3. Help fund running costs by becoming a friend.

Click here to contact us....

Website by Creative Station