Restored to its former glory

Madeira Lift
Photo by Tony Mould
Madeira Lift at night
Photo by Tony Mould

Grade II listed building

The covers came off the historic Madeira Terrace lift this week to reveal a stunningly renovated roof and dramatic new lighting. The Grade II Listed lift has been under wraps for a year while a specialist team has worked to restore it to its former glory.

Opened in 1890

Originally opening in 1890, the lift links Marine Parade with Madeira Drive and, in its heyday, carried thousands of visitors to the beach. Originally powered by hydraulics, the lift descends into a shelter (now Concorde 2) which was designed to accommodate visitors during bad weather.

A specialist renovation team

Major work to the lift mechanisms and shaft was carried out in 2009 – the roof work is the final phase of the restoration project. The specialist roofing team included a retired restorer, now in his 80s, who received delivery of torn and split sections of the roof to his shed in Gloucester where he recreated the apron that secures the scales to the upper roof.

Exterior lighting fitted

Two of the original griffins, which sit on the corners of the roof, have been repaired and the remaining two cast to match. The large orb and weathervane have also been repaired and were finally lifted into place by five men who carefully adjusted the dolphins and compass to point in the correct directions. Lightning protection hidden within the structure has also been added along with exterior lighting so the roof and lift can be seen at night.

The lift operates in the hours of 9.30am until 7.30pm, from Easter and throughout the summer season.

Read about the history of the Madeira Lift here.



Comments about this page

  • But where is the clock?

    By Tim Sargeant (10/02/2013)
  • Do we have any idea of the cost of using the lift? Many years ago it cost an ‘arm and a leg’, so most walked out of the lift when they found out the cost and simply walked down.

    By Ken Ross (10/02/2013)
  • I’ve been on it many times and it was always free; beautiful restoration!

    By Peter Groves (10/02/2013)
  • I only went in there a couple of times. I’m sure the last time I used it, it cost sixpence or 5p. I can’t remember which but sure it will be a lot more than that now. As much as I hate lifts, I shall have to go in it just the once. A friend of mine seems to remember a floor halfway up with a doorway leading North (some tunnel?). Anyone know of this as we’re trying to find out?

    By Carol Homewood (10/02/2013)
  • As to the clock – sorry but I have not been able to find out what happened to this – maybe Andy Grant can help? As to fee – there is no mention of a fee on the noticeboard – maybe we will have to wait until it opens to find out.

    By Jennifer Drury: Website Editor (11/02/2013)
  • Following on about the possible fee to use the lift – we have been contacted by a representative from B&HCC who assures us that using the lift is free. So we can all go down there and check it out at Easter.

    By Jennifer Drury: Website Editor (11/02/2013)
  • What a stunning refurbishment-it must have cost a fair bit, but I’m sure it will be going strong for another hundred plus years. Congratulations to all the craftsman and specialists involved in the project!

    By Stefan Bremner-Morris (12/02/2013)
  • The other interesting thing, considering it’s free, I recall it has a full time lift operator, making it almost a “step back in time”.

    By Peter Groves (12/02/2013)
  • That is a good job and well done to the people involved. Regards

    By Rick Smallman (13/02/2013)
  • That’s brilliant. On a recent visit to Ramsgate to trace some of my great-grandfather’s footsteps I noted several similar lifts there, only one of which is still working and that one looking very run down. Nice if Ramsgate could take a leaf out of Brighton’s copybook.

    By Len Liechti (21/02/2013)

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