In the early 1900s, older boys at the school would carry their disabled headmistress up and down four flights of stairs.
Last week, long after that headmistress left, the school finally got its own elevator.
It took eight years of campaigning for the lift to be fitted in the grade two-listed Victorian building, to improve access to the school's three levels.
TJ Morfitt, a Year 5 pupil whose family led the campaign, unveiled the lift. The 10-year-old has tetraplegic cerebral palsy.
"It's a shame it wasn't done earlier, as I have three kids with cerebral palsy who all went to Stepney and would have benefited greatly," said his mother, Paula Morfitt.
"But it will pave the way for more children with mobility problems to come into a mainstream school, so we are very happy."
Paul Browning, the headteacher (who, unlike his predecessor, is perfectly able to make his way up and down the stairs without assistance), expressed delight at the arrival of the lift.
"Predominantly needed for those who have disabilities, it will benefit all members of the school community," he said.
One question remains: will the school be renamed Liftney Primary?