Waterhouse’s magnificent ‘flying staircase’ is an impressive bridge staircase that spans Hintze Hall (formerly the Central Hall) and offers an excellent viewpoint. The staircase was constructed around a framework of wrought iron, like many buildings around the middle of the 19th century. These include the Albert Memorial a few 100 metres away in Hyde Park, which was completed in 1876. Its iron framework holds up the entire monument. The elaborate stencils on the ceiling are reminiscent of the designs found on Minoan pottery.
The flying staircase spans Hintze Hall and offers an excellent viewpoint. Like most bridges, this was built over a huge timber framework for support. The staircase itself depends on an internal structure of wrought iron.
Some of the stencils to be found on the balcony ceiling are reminiscent of designs found on Minoan pottery as shown here, and Roman mosaics. Others show some of the few insects that decorate the Museum.
This octopus stencil bears similarity to Minoan pottery. Waterhouse had intended all the ceilings to be elegantly panelled with wood, but successive rounds of cost-cutting meant that they were made of plaster.