Originally installed in 1885, in Folkestone, Kent, the Grade II Listed Leas Lift is a funicular railway which carries passengers between the seafront and the promenade. It is one of the oldest water lifts in the UK.
The lift operates using water and gravity and is controlled from a small cabin at the top of the cliff. It has carried more than 50 million people since it opened, in a process that is especially energy efficient. The lift has a very small carbon footprint as it emits no pollution and recycles all of the water used to drive the cars.
In June 2009, Shepway District Council’s lease ran out and it was decided that the lift was too expensive to run. Campaigners subsequently protested against the closure of the lift and in April 2010, it was announced that the lift was to be restored.
Restoration works 
Crofton Design, the consulting engineers responsible for the Leas Lift restoration, was appointed as lead consultant to provide structural engineering design. Crofton won the ‘Building Structures’ award at the ACE Engineering Excellence Awards in May 2011 and won the ‘Restoration’ award at the ICE Engineering Excellence Awards in June 2011 for their work on the lift. G A Harpers were appointed as the main contractor to carry out the necessary construction work.
The renovation involved replacing the mechanical and electrical wiring and ensuring that all necessary safety standards in the two cars, the control systems and stations, were met. There was also a focus on restoring the associated power pumps that control the lift at the top and bottom stations.
The wheel bearings on the lift cars were all found to be damaged by corrosion so the wheels were re-machined to provide the correct running profile. Additionally, the corroded steelwork support structures within the buried water storage tanks, which were leaking, were inspected and replaced.
Present day 
125 years after it first opened, the operation of the Folkestone lift has been taken over by The Folkestone Leas Lift Community Interest Company. The company operates the lift on behalf of the community as a non-profit-making organisation and has opened the attraction as a living museum.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Leas Lift|
- BBC News  “Coastal water lift on Folkestone cliffs reopened”
- The Folkestone Leas Lift Community Interest Company  “How the Lift Works”
- The Grand  “Folkestone’s Leas Lifts”
- The Folkestone Leas Lift Community Interest Company
- BBC News  “Coastal water lift on Folkestone cliffs to be restored”
- Hawking Gazette & Channel Coast News  “Restored Folkestone Step Lift Carriage comes home”
- Crofton Design  "Leas Lift"
- ACE  “ACE Engineering Excellence Awards 2011 winners announced”
- This is Kent  “Engineers uplifted by award”
- ICE  “Engineer Crofton scoops another award for restoration of Leas Lift, Folkestone, Kent”
- GA Harpers
- The Construction Index  “Crofton restores Grade II Listed Leas Lift to former glory”