Madeira Terrace was originally built as a covered promenade to attract tourists from London when the new railway opened in the late 1800s. It was built by borough surveyor Philip Lockwood and opened to the east of Royal Crescent in 1890, before being extended to meet the Aquarium in 1927 to 1929.
It is considered the longest cast iron structure in Britain, running from the Aquarium Colonnade to the Volk’s railway maintenance building.
Madeira Terrace has weathered the marine environment for more than 100 years. In 2012, the terrace was progressively closed to the public as the structure had degraded and become unsafe. It was finally fenced off in 2016, with four of the six staircases connecting Madeira Drive to Marine Parade also being closed.
Plans led by the council in partnership with the local community will involve the restoration of the terrace in phases. The project forms the backdrop to the restoration of the eastern seafront.
The ambition is to creatively reuse the terrace and see it used as a year-round place for sustainable tourism, leisure, recreation and culture. A real challenge for the project is to embed ‘Circular Economy’ principles in the restoration enabling Madeira Terrace to be used and enjoyed by future generations.
Madeira Drive hosts around 20 large and national events each year and the terrace is a natural backdrop for events as it forms a ‘linear grandstand’ for major occasions.
What’s happened since the terraces closed to the public?
Until June 2019 the focus for the council was to raise funds to kickstart the project.
- 2016: Restoration planning began and a bid for £4 million government funding was unsuccessful.
- 2017: Our crowdfunding campaign ran from July to November raising £440,000
- 2018: Two bids for National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) were unsuccessful. We continue to explore funding options and bids.
- 2019: An advisory panel of community representatives has been set up. At a committee in June, councillors agreed that £550k would be made available to appoint a design team to start the first phase of a five phase project.
Image credit Building Green