Madeira Lift – Brighton, England - Atlas Obscura

Madeira Lift

Decrepit Victorian public lift is a white-knuckle ride. 

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The Madeira Lift or Kemp Town Seafront Lift, in Brighton, England, is a creaky and decrepit Victorian lift in need of much restoration—but it’s also free, so you can’t complain too much.

The purpose of the lift, which is within a brick structure, is to transport people vertically up the cliff, linking Marine Parade with Madeira Drive. The elevator is so rickety, however, that it doubles as a white-knuckle amusement ride. The whole setup is irresistible, and you can ride up and down as many times as you like. The attendant gets lonely and welcomes the company.

Bizarrely, access to the beach level of the lift is via a nightclub that plays chest-thumping music from about ten in the morning onwards. The interior of the club is painted black and purple and is suitably oppressive and doom-laden, even in bright sunshine and despite its sixteen-foot ceilings.

The lift, which was shut down in 2007, recently received a £250,000 restoration, though still suffers from frequent breakdowns. Further restoration plans include refurbishing the lift car and fixing the roof of the brick lift structure with ornamental griffins and a dolphin weather vane.

Update as of May 2024: The lift is closed indefinently.

Know Before You Go

Brighton Seafront is approximately one-half mile east of Palace Pier. It's open between Good Friday and the last Sunday in September.


It's possible to drive to the top and bottom of the lift, starting at Marine Parade and then taking Madeira Drive, which is one way between the pier and the harbor. There is pay-and-display parking on both roads.


 

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