Since 2017 the two carriages of Folkestone’s iconic Leas Lift have hung, suspended midway on the cliffside overlooking the seafront. Former Lift operator Edwin Thomas said, “I remember parking them there on the last day we were open and they haven’t moved since”. They sit patiently waiting for the day when the rush of water will once again lurch the carriages into action and start carrying passengers from the town centre to the seafront and back again. It now appears that this pipe dream is destined to come true.
The organisation leading the plans to reopen Leas Lift is run by volunteers who have been busy working away behind the scenes, raising funds and hatching plans to reopen this much missed transport link. As part of this process, local people have been consulted and asked to recall memories about the Leas Lift and to share their opinions about it. Strange Cargo, a Folkestone arts charity, was commissioned to spend time talking to people whose voices are often hidden, to invite their contribution to this important process of consultation and together they have created an exhibition of colourful pictures, personal memories, and pertinent suggestions to add to the mix.
The Elephant in the Room exhibition opens on 4th February at Strange Cargo’s Cheriton Gallery. Visitors can expect to see the walls filled with colourful, framed pictures of areas within walking distance of the Lift, a reminder of the places we will all find much easier to get to once the Lift is working again. Participants of all ages, from Mind, The Beacon, Touchbase, Age UK and the Nepalese Centre have been the groups involved. Many older people remembered using the lift, “My first date with my wife included a ride on the Leas Lift” recalled one man. “I always thought of it as the worlds slowest white-knuckle ride” recounted another. But everyone had either fond memories of its creaky, clanky sounds; or were hotly anticipating their first ride on it once it reopens.
Visitors to the exhibition can also enjoy old photographs and Leas Lift memorabilia, together with a set of new floor panels, created by Strange Cargo for the Leas Lift building once it reopens. And why is the exhibition called The Elephant in the Room? This will be revealed in the exhibition! Strange Cargo looks forward to your visit.
The free exhibition is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 3pm, from 4th to 18th February at Strange Cargo Gallery, 43 Geraldine Road, Cheriton, Folkestone CT19 4BD (turn off Cheriton High Street at Kwikfit and the gallery is on the left at the end of St George’s Road. Anyone wishing to arrange a visit out of these ours please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editor:
Contact for quotes: Strange Cargo Artistic Director, Brigitte Orasinski
Gallery address: Strange Cargo Gallery, 43 Geraldine Road, Cheriton, Folkestone. CT19 4BD.
Tel: 01303 278821 or 07811 469616