The Isle of Man is an astonishing repository of archaic technology that has survived against the odds.
Only now, after fifty years of neglect, is the Cunningham’s Camp Escalator being dismantled as dangerous. I trust that the admirable Manx Museum will rescue as much of its parts as possible to restore as a static exhibit sometime in the future.
Another relic lingers on Douglas seafront, high up on the cliffs.
The Falcon Lift was constructed in 1927 by William Wadsworth & Co of Bolton to connect a hotel and dance pavilion with the promenade: http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/towns/douglas/fcliff.htm.
It was the second lift on the site: an earlier funicular on a different alignment, built in 1877, had been transported to Port Soderick at the far end of the Marine Drive in 1898.
The existing Falcon Lift isn’t a funicular with two balancing cars. It’s simply a lift, and it’s been sitting at the top of its track since the hotel closed in 1990: http://www.hows.org.uk/personal/rail/iom.htm.
It’s simply not possible to preserve everything that might be interesting, but for the moment the Falcon Lift remains, like much else on the Isle of Man, because no-one has seen the need to get rid of it.
The 72-page, A4 handbook for the 2014 Manx Heritage tour, with text, photographs, maps, a chronology and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £10.00 including postage and packing. To order a copy, please click here or, if you prefer, send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.