I ALWAYS call them the Spanish Steps but I don’t know why.
For a start they’re pillar box red unlike the ornate stairway in Rome; they are only just over 50 years old as opposed to 300 years; and there are only 86 of them not 135. But they do have a much more interesting name – Jacob’s Ladder.
One thing they have in common is that they climb a steep slope and provide pedestrian access between two significant parts of a city, in this case Edward Street in the Brisbane CBD and Wickham Terrace in Spring Hill.
There was first just a dirt track with rickety wooden railings – little more than a ladder – that went up in about 1921.
The concrete steps were built in 1961 and were slowly wasting away until they were given a good makeover in 2009.
The steps run beside King Edward Park so there’s always the option of taking the scenic route on a footpath winding through the park that’s scattered with sculptures.
At the bottom of the steps is a heritage-listed 1942 bomb shelter under a huge old fig tree.
Why are they called Jacobs ladder?
Good question. I think it’s because the flat area between each set of steps was originally painted different colours so that from the top it gave the effect of the Jacob’s ladder puzzles, the ones with the ribbon holding different coloured cards so that when you hang them down it creates an illusion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-AxkN_N7zY
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