Timber Works
Museum welcomes new character
25th February 2019

Museum welcomes new character

The Anning Rooms at London’s Natural History Museum, named after renowned 19th century fossil hunter Mary Anning, were refurbished and re-launched to provide an area for the Museum’s growing number of members and patrons. In addition to catering facilities, the area houses a five- metre tall cabinet of curiosities, which forms the central feature of its staircase.

Timber Trade Federation member WL West & Sons were called upon to provide European Character Grade Oak for the flooring and staircase area by contractors Falkus Joinery, providing a natural backdrop to the area and the exhibits. Character grade oak was chosen to chime with building’s age.

With sawmilling expertise stretching back to 1865, WL West & Sons used their knowledge to cut, dry, regularise and further machine the material. For the staircase, each stair was measured and WL West & Sons machined a small rebate to accommodate slip-resist steel nosing.

As a place of learning and research on the natural world, it was fitting that W L West & Sons were able to contribute their own extensive wood knowledge to the project.

The Character Grade Oak was selected and then kiln dried: a step taken to improve stability in the indoor environment intended for its use. The timbers were laminated together in WL West & Sons’ own lamination plant, finger-jointed for additional strength, and then further tessellated to create best fit. The direction of the wood grain was chosen to run from back to front on each stair.

Timber sourcing

Established as sawmillers by 1865, W L West & Sons Ltd is still a family-run business with deeply ingrained knowledge of British- grown and other world hardwoods. With its 50,000 sq ft of drying sheds, kilning, machining, CNC and laminating facilities, the company works with architects and specifiers on all manner of projects.    

As a Timber Trade Federation Responsible Purchaser, and a member of the Grown in Britain campaign, W L West & Sons seeks to source locally grown material and applies rigorous due diligence to it sourcing of hardwoods from overseas.

Projects Info

Location: Natural History Museum, London [map view]
Wood Supplier: WL West & Sons
Main Wood Species: Oak

[Download this project as .pdf here]