The decision to render the lifts permanently inoperable, rather than conserve them for possible demonstration use in a museum situation, was at best short-sighted, and at worst an act of philistinism. As time moves on, this fact will begin to become more and more obvious. I suspect that, even now, this location is the only place left on the whole of the Yerkes tube system where the original lifts are still in situ, even in butchered form. Hopefully, a future project will see at least one of these historic machines refurbished, and made once again able to operate on a demonstration basis within this museum site. Circumstances have bequeathed us the opportunity to preserve an entire Edwardian tube station. We must not miss it.
Makes my footage of the lifts in action at that station even more important (and precious!) than I ever expected.
Maybe I should make a short film just showing the lifts in operation and put it on YouTube as a short standalone - and even offer a copy to the Museum to show visitors. I think that people who visit the station because their interest is historic buildings - and not trains - will also be interested in the lifts, as a curiosity.
As an aside, apart from Underground stations I also remember manually operated lifts (by an attendant) at Selfridges and Harrods department stores. I was at the latter a few weeks ago and noted that whilst they have converted all their lifts to fully automated self-service operation there are some lifts which still retain their manual driving controls. I have no idea if these are actually operable* but the point is that the controls are still there - visible for all to see! I took a photo... but the colour balance was weird because the lift interiors are brass (or brass colour)
*) of course I would expect that if it can be used then some sort of master key that is retained in a locked cabinet would be required to enable such equipment.
Many moons ago I read something about the lifts at Earls Court station going to be replaced, and that therefore there would be some months when no lift service would be available. I thought that I might go and photograph them - perhaps it was when visiting an Ideal Home Exhibition at the adjacent exhibition centre. Or I might have gone there specially ... I no longer remember!
In those days I was using a small 110 film camera which easily slipped in to a jacket pocket. I did not realise that 35mm film offered vastly improved image quality.
btw, these were Nos. 3 and 4. I wonder what happened to lifts Nos. 1 and 2?
Also of interest will be the sign about the lifts being automated. This makes me wonder if (by then) the lifts had already been modernised but retained their wood panelling? If so, its probable that the lift location indicators no longer moved up and down with the lifts.
OK, lets move on from Aldwych and wallow in some nostalgia somewhere else...
I only have these two views, as before I took them using a 110 film camera as a way of preserving a scene that would soon become nothing more than a memory. The views show two different illuminated signs.
As an aside, although I scanned these ages ago its only 'less than an hour ago' that I published them on Flickr.
1. by a member of staff inside working the controls.
2. by a member of staff outside working the controls.
3. by the passengers operating the buttons to call the lift. I have not used a lift station for many years.
What would these workings be called?
I've dug out a copy of the LT "Regulations Concerning the Operation of Lifts and Escalators" from 1970. This officially terms the different modes of working as:
1. "car control"
2. "landing or ticket office control" (depending on whether the control box was on the top landing just outside the lift enclosure, or in the ticket office)
3. "automatic lifts"
Happy to be corrected if I'm wrong, but for all intents and purposes I think all lifts are now automatic (though I imagine there's some form of control in a staff location for emergencies).
Thank you spsmiler for the scans, really atmospheric and evocative. I love the way you can see the old Leslie Green tiling in the Goodge St images has just been painted over in that 40s "biscuit" brown paint! I think that'd be considered an act of vandalism these days!
I think the history of lifts on the Underground has been somewhat neglected generally. They seem to be often just a footnote and as far as I know there's only been one "book" published about lifts on the deep tube, against the countless publications on LT rolling stock (though the profusion of the latter is not a bad thing).
Mechanised vertical transportation is, after all, what made the deep tubes possible. Lifts show a similar technological progression through history as rolling stock does. LTM Acton does have a good amount of lift hardware preserved, thankfully, but my personal feeling is they ought to be given a greater bit of prominence in the overall tube story. Lifts aren't as fun or as exciting as trains I'll admit, but an important piece of the puzzle.
These days there are two types of lift* on the Underground, ones are the primary means of access ("traction lifts" I think is the term) and ones that are supplemental for e.g. mobility impaired people. To my knowledge, the latter are all automatic lifts exclusively (other than emergencies). The former are all normally automatic but at least some can be operated as landing and/or car control if circumstances make this desirable.
In this context "automatic" means travelling at the correct speed and stopping at the right place without human control. Starting may be fully automatic or in response to a button pressed inside and/or outside the car.
*excluding what I think is termed a "platform lift" (not to be confused with a lift to/from a station platform) between the JLE concourse and western subway at Stratford. This is summoned in the normal way, but operation requires a button to be continuously pressed for the duration of the journey (the lift stops if it is released). One of the Tfl Rail eastern stations has had something similar installed to link the footbridge to the ticket hall (a similarly short rise) but as this had not been commissioned at the time of my most recent visit I cannot say if the same method of operation is employed.
The essential things in life are seen not with the eyes, but with the heart. --Antoine de St. Exupery
Didn't the Great Northern & City use hydraulic lifts? Oh and at night they had to left at the lower level because they would slowly creep there otherwise?
My question is based upon something I read - I am too young to have travelled on any of their lifts.
I know the platform lift at Stratford that Chris M mentioned - I've used it, albeit just once, when I had been fruit picking at a friends house and on my way home had a very heavily laden shopping trolley carrying apples and pears - but in a fit of lazyness plus Cockney Rhyming Slang avoidance chose to use the lift instead!
The GN&C originally had a mix of lift types. Those at Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park were Musker hydraulic lifts. The remainder were Easton Anderson electrics. High & I's were replaced by electric Otis lifts in the 50s and Finbury Park's lifts were taken out of use in the 20s.
The City & South London opened with Armstrong Whitworth hydraulic lifts - one theory being these were used to reduce the load on the electrical power station at Stockwell.
Oh and at night they had to left at the lower level because they would slowly creep there otherwise?
I remember reading something similar, but I can't think where. Apparently there were a number of accidents on the C&SL lifts where water pipes broke and pressure was lost studdenly, causing the lift to plunge down the shaft, sometimes loaded with passengers. Apparently there were safety mechanisms but seemingly these didn't always engage...