Friday, June 27, 2014

Celebrating 130 years - Saltburn Cliff Lift

This weekend Saltburn's iconic cliff lift, believed to be the oldest working water-balanced funicular in the UK today, will mark its 130th year in operation.

Saltburn Cliff Lift, which continues to attract tourists from across the region and beyond, first made its 120ft decent from the town to the lower promenade in June 1884.

To mark the anniversary, owners Redcar and Cleveland Council are printing numbered commemorative tickets that will be issued to passengers by authentically dressed operators.

Olwyn Peters, the council’s cabinet member for culture leisure and tourism, described the cliff lift as an “absolute gem” and said the council was proud of its role as custodian.

Councillor Peters said: “The cliff lift is as much a part of Saltburn’s charm as the pier and together they are one of the region’s most recognisable features."

“Everybody seems to love them and thousands of people take the trip down to the lower promenade and back, each year, and we hope they will continue to do so for many years to come.”

In addition to lift operators in Victorian-style dress, other historically attired characters will be in attendance during the anniversary event on Saturday.

It is hoped that the commemorative tickets, issued to paying customers that day, will be the first in a series of collectable tickets that will change in design each year.

The first cliff lift was a rickety vertical hoist that was installed by the Saltburn Pier Company in 1870. It was acquired by the Middlesbrough Estate in August, 1883, but was condemned later that year. George Croydon Marks, of Tangye Ltd, designed and oversaw the installation of the current lift which has been in local authority ownership since the Second World War.

In addition to regular maintenance Redcar and Cleveland Council has undertaken a £30,000 refit, in 2011, the first off site overhaul since 1992.

It carries 12 passengers in its two carriages and 167,781 people took the trip last year, up from 140,742 the previous year and 115,930 in 2011.

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