Folkestone Lift to reopen

A Victorian water-powered lift in Folkestone which closed last year reopens on Saturday following restoration work.

Our picture was taken by Janet Tench see more of her photos

The Grade II-listed Leas Lift on cliffs was built in 1885 and carried passengers for the last time on 30 June 2009 after Shepway council's lease ran out.

It is one of the oldest water lifts in the UK and transported people between the seafront and the promenade.

Residents have formed the Folkestone Leas Lift Community Interest company to manage the attraction.

They hope enough people will use the lift to travel between the town centre and the beach for it to make a profit.

The lift was closed in June 2009 after the Shepway District Council decided it was too expensive to run.

The lifts are controlled from the small cabins on either side of the track at the top of the cliff.  The two cars are connected by a steel cable, which passes round a large pulley-wheel under the platform

Under the passenger compartment of the lift car is a large metal tank, which is filled with water from a stand-pipe. 

When the combined weight of the passengers and water in the car at the top is greater than the weight of the passengers in the car at the bottom, the brakes are released and the heavier car starts to descend, pulling the lighter car up. 

When the cars reach the opposite positions, the brakes are applied and the water is emptied out of the tank

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