Scaffolding History


Scaffolding is a temporary structure designed to be as flexible as possible to enable works access to all kinds of building. This statement encapsulates the utilitarian and functional nature of scaffolding and scaffolding design. However it fails to show how fundamental it has been through history of construction. Scaffolding has been around for as long as we started imagining complex and multi-storeyed buildings. Our fascination with ancient and historic buildings is their almost miraculous construction.

Massive ancient structures required engineers to invent new types of scaffolding. Scaffolding should leave no mark on the building that it is supporting. However unlike modern scaffolding techniques, historic buildings sometimes tell us about the invisible structures which must have existed. Gaps in masonry known as putlogs, for example, have left us clues to how these construction pioneers created their wonders.

On the other hand, monuments such as the mysterious and magnificent Pyramids of Giza have puzzled architectural historians for millennia. There are many theories; architectural historians have imagined huge external ramps. More recently they have found evidence of smaller layered internal support. But ramps or not, modern conservation has shown that these highly skilled engineers and their workers relied on vast amounts of wooden mobile scaffolding.

Ancient scaffolding would have consisted of wooden poles lashed together with rope. Imagine the Acropolis of Athens, or the Coliseum in Rome. Is incredible to imagine these innovative Greek and Roman buildings as they were rising, supported only by wooden scaffolding. The vast weight and size of the building materials would have pushed scaffold load capacity to the max. The ancient equivalent of the project manager would have been a master of engineering. There would be new problems to overcome every day.


One such problem occurred around 1400 in Renaissance Florence. Although the city’s medieval cathedral had a roof, after many decades the famous dome was still incomplete. Engineers debated whether there be enough wood in Tuscany to build a massive scaffold structure.  One legendary scaffolding idea was to build a mountain of dirt mixed with coins to be cleared away money-grubbing people when the dome was finished. Thankfully for posterity Filippo Brunelleschi managed without ground based scaffolding, relying on innovative construction techniques and suspended scaffolding.

Those early engineers changed their city skylines. And as we have seen in London over the past few decades, impossible structures are made possible by safe and stable modern scaffolding and engineering techniques. You might not be building pyramids in the desert or coliseums in ancient capitals, but as a competitive and innovative London scaffolding company, we can offer you all types of scaffolding types to suit all construction, renovation, reconstruction requirements.

Fixed ladder access, birdcage or independent scaffolds, and extra support scaffolding is suitable for hard to reach areas. Whatever your choice we guarantee absolute stability and safety. We can also provide temporary bridges and goods and passenger hoist towers. Protect your building works from the elements with a temporary roof, call us to discuss your construction requirements or visit about us page.