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National Lottery Grants £4.8m to Restore Kent's Seafront Lift

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The National Lottery Heritage Fund has granted £4.8 million to restore the Leas Lift in Folkestone, Kent.

Opened in 1885, Leas Lift is one of the eight water balance cliff lifts built nationwide. It is also one of the three surviving Victorian water-balanced lifts in the United Kingdom that continues to operate with its original system.

The lift provides transport from the Leas to the seafront and Lower Coastal Park, relying on a combination of water and gravity. It is controlled from a small cabin located at the top of the cliff.

The lift gained popularity in the Victorian era and continued operating for almost 130 years. It only experienced temporal closures for repairs and during the Second World War.

The lift was closed in 2016 due to safety concerns and listed on Historic England's Heritage at Risk register in 2018. This comes after the National Lottery funded Grosvenor Road Studios in order to help bring it back to life.

With the National Lottery grant funding, the total amount that has been raised for the restoration and refurbishment of the lift stands at £6.6 million. According to the charity, work will commence on the project next year, and the Victorian-era lift will return to its original use by 2025.

We are delighted to support the restoration of this rare, surviving water lift, returning this beautiful and remarkable example of Victorian engineering to its original use, connecting seafront and town and creating an anchor and sense of place and connection for the local Folkestone community and visitors.

Eilish McGuinnessChief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund

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