Cliftonville & Margate Cliff Lifts, Kent

Cliftonville Cliff Lift (pictured): One prominent structure that can be seen along the B2051 road from Cliftonville to Margate is Cliftonville cliff lift. Built in 1934 on behalf of Margate Borough Council, this single car lift grants access from the Queen's Promenade to the foreshore of Walpole Bay. A typical structure of the Art Deco period, this rather stark, vertical concrete tower encases the lift operation. Cliftonville cliff lift was refurbished by Thanet District Council during the 1990s, and remains free to use throughout the season, running from Easter to September.

Margate Lido Cliff Railway: Travelling further along the road, heading towards Margate town proper, the site of an early cliff railway is still evident. Located near the Lido complex, adjacent to Ethelbert Terrace, this single car ran along a 5ft (1.5m) gauge railway constructed on a ramp up the side of a brick retaining wall.

Built c1912, Margate's Lido Cliff Railway was almost certainly the country's shortest cliff railway at a mere 69ft (21m) in length, and was unique inasmuch as it ran parallel to the seafront as opposed to away from it. Powered by a 'Bull' 480v DC 15 HP electric winding motor, the 15-seater passenger car was counterbalanced by an iron weight moving up and down a vertical shaft. The car was of standard design on a triangular sub frame, with access doors to the front and rear, but this arrangement seemed at odds with the railway's design. Side access doors would have been much more in keeping with the appearance, and would have facilitated a smoother entry into the car.

Attendant operated throughout the summer months, the Lido Cliff Railway eventually fell into disrepair during the 1970s, and was subsequently demolished. Today, all that remains to be seen is the track ramp, and some of the winding gear.


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