Wednesday 5 November 2014

'Stylish' Walpole Bay Cliff Lift Grade II Listed

What a marvellous bit of good news to come home to this evening! English Heritage have approved my application and have designated Walpole Bay's 1934 Art Deco cliff lift at Grade II.

The Advice Report from English Heritage states:

"The Cliff Lift, Queens Promenade is a stylish 1934 Art Deco style concrete cliff lift which survives externally unaltered. It is an example of a very rare building type of which only four examples nationally are currently listed and the published criteria state that these are 'generally listed'. It is comparable with an inter-war cliff lift at Ramsgate which is listed at Grade II. It is part of a series of seaside structures in Cliftonville ranging in date from the early C19 to the 1930s, most of which are listed. It therefore meets the listing criteria for its building type."

The Cliff Lift now joins the recently designated Walpole Bay Tidal Pool at Grade II. Along with the rejection of the de-designation of Walpole Bay for bathing, the future for bathing at Walpole Bay looks ever more secure. If the Walpole Bay Swimmers keep at it they'll still be swimming at Christmas. 

In recent months, residents rallied and undertook the hard work of organising and painting of the lift's sadly dilapidated facade. The indefatigable Kate Harrison, while working as a Community Organiser for Locality, came across local painter and decorator Mark Johnson-Cooper who was eager to work to improve local historic buildings and get them looking better. They got others involved locally. The team was made up entirely of volunteers. Funding for the painting project was through the Community Organiser project and the Margate team that were in place at the time. The Margate Community Organiser team was the result of local residents successfully applying to Locality.
Transformed in 2014:

Photo Ian Venables
There is a dedicated Facebook Group for the lift. Join!

The listing now opens the door for further funding opportunities for this stretch of Cliftonville seafront. It's one of only four listed cliff lifts nationally. Taken out of service in 2009 when Thanet Council closed it, I hope that the dream of the lift working again and enabling easier access to and from the lower promenade can soon become a reality.
Walpole Bay Tidal Pool
Cliftonville has so many beautiful assets from the era when Britain proudly invested in building facilities for people to enjoy bathing along this unique stretch of coast. Protect them, love them and the community will flourish. They lie on the walking route from Margate Harbour along to the jewel in the crown of Thanet's beaches, Botany Bay and on to Broadstairs. For the last five years this has been a really popular pastime for our guests at our B&B throughout the winter months as well as the summer. This route aka, Cliftonville is the crucial link between the towns of Margate and Broadstairs. It's a place in its own right. Where else can you ride an art deco lift down to a 4 acre tidal pool at the end of your road? Viva Cliftonville!


  1. great news, well done.
    restore the lift low tech, so it can be self-operated by 50p coin, and somehow avoid peasants using it as a toilet

  2. Er, but we want more people to use it, not have to pay 50p. And what do you mean by 'peasants'?

  3. I wouldn't get too excited that big block of concrete wasn't going to go anywhere, It costs money to get rid of.
    Attention directed towards the Broadstairs Cliff lift would have been energy better spent.