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Madeira Lift

Madeira Lift
Photo by Tony Mould

A seafront landmark

The Madeira Lift is another landmark for me along the seafront. It stands out on the skyline from a distance walking along the top prom and it is a marker as I walk into or home from Brighton. I love its shape and structure, and its form against the sky – whatever colour that sky is. It is especially attractive against a blue sky with fluffy white clouds.

Interesting views

I’ve never been in the lift. It always seems to be closed when I go by. But I like to think of people in times past using it to sedately move between the levels, especially Victorian ladies in their restricting dresses. A friend of mine’s mother studied in Brighton earlyish in the 20th century.  He told me that she and other female students were told not to go down to the lower level, not a place for nice young ladies. The views from the top and middle are anyway, far more interesting. If I’m not in a semi-dream and looking at the clouds, there is nearly always plenty to watch happening on the beach.

Built by an ancestor

Just to the west of the lift is a plaque, usually covered in ivy but just visible at the moment, to ‘William Lambert, builder’, dated 1838. William Lambert had the contract to build the seawall in the 1830s. He is my four-times great uncle. It took me ages to find the plaque and I probably would not have if my grandmother had not told me many years ago of its existence.

Comments about this page

  • The lift is often in operation in the summer, it’s well worth a go, and it’s free!

    By Peter Groves (29/06/2010)

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