Grand Staircase in the Saloon, Althorp House, Northamptonshire, England, UK. This grand central hallway was once an open courtyard, where visitors to the house would arrive and dismount their horses. In 1662, it was roofed over by the widow of a Spencer slain in the English Civil War. The imposing oak staircase was built in 1666. The stairs are surprisingly shallow and delightfully uneven – a physical manifestation of the long history of the house.