Museums & Heritage

Folkestone Leas Lift Company

Heritage restoration project supporting local tourism and economic regeneration.

Funicular lift in Folkestone

Originally opened in 1885, Folkestone Leas Lift is one of only eight water balance lifts in the UK, and one of only three that have their original water balance system still in place. Closed since 2017 when it was put on Historic England’s at-risk register, plans have been in development since 2018 to raise the funds to restore this heritage site and to reopen it as a sustainable attraction that would serve the local community and bring in tourists.

Folkestone Leas Lift Company consulted thoroughly with the local community and stakeholders and developed a robust business plan based on conservative visitor levels which would generate a surplus to ensure ongoing maintenance works could be paid for. The team working on the project were highly experienced and a national construction firm committed to do the works at cost as they liked the project so much! The charity had a thorough fundraising plan including national funders, trusts, corporates and the local community. We were delighted to make an early pledge to the project to encourage other funders.

We are enormously grateful to Garfield Weston for their generous funding. We needed to raise in excess of £6 million to be able to fund the renovation and reopening of the lift and this grant was the first we received. It was a catalyst for other supporters and led us to successfully achieving our fundraising target. We were well supported by kind staff throughout the process which was easy to navigate.

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