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Local history: Restored Folkestone Step Lift Carriage comes home (Photos)

Contributed by editor on Mar 21, 2011 - 08:50 AM

News

The sun shone on the restored 1890 Leas Steplift Carriage when it was returned to Folkestone on Saturday (19 March) following its complete restoration.
 


Under blue skies, the sparkling carriage, in a smart red and cream livery, arrived at The Grand in Folkestone to be reunited with its chassis which arrived earlier in the day.

The 120-year-old Folkestone Leas Lift water step lift carriage was removed from the tracks back in October 2006 and the 1890 Leas Lift Carriage Restoration project team set to work raising around  £35,000 to restore the carriage, which has recently been granted Grade 2 listed status by English Heritage, to its former glory.

 

Super fundraiser Robert Mouland couldn't wait to sit in the carriage

 

Ann Houghton, Robert Mouland, Jack Gill and Michael Stainer

 

The dynamic duo, Robert Mouland and Jack Gill celebrate after years of hard work

 

After nine years, the 1890 Leas Lift Carriage Restoration project team has accomplished what it set out to do and is handing over all responsibility to the freeholder Lord Radnor and Shepway District Council.


But without the hard work of Robert Mouland and Jack Gill and the support of the townspeople with their generous donations, this day would probably have never arrived.

 

The carriage finally arrives

 

The chassis is craned into position

 

Reuniting the chassis and carriage   Photo: Max Hess

 

The future for the carriage however still remains uncertain after the owners have yet to find a permanent site to display this important part of Folkestone's heritage.

 

Shepway Council has been strongly criticised by supporters of the project over the lack of support given to the lift restoration and its siting once completed.

 

 The 1890 Steplift Carriage

 

A view inside the carriage   Photo: Max Hess

 

All that's needed now is an agreement for it to be given pride of place where it belongs, and not left to languish in temporary storage away from public view.

 

The Steplift supported by scaffolding

 

Until a suitable site is found the carriage will be kept on land at The Grand in Folkestone, which manager Michael Stainer has generously made available, despite a reported last minute hitch with Shepway Council over whether the land  could be used for such purpose.

Read more about the Folkestone Leas Lift here

 

 

Hawkinge Gazette and Channel Coast News 2011©