Do you know which was the first lift to be installed in Metro de Madrid?
Madrid, 1920. The first section of the Metro had been inaugurated only a few months earlier. Despite some initial reluctance, the people of Madrid were gradually getting used to this revolutionary means of underground transport, which, at that time, connected Puerta del Sol with the neighbourhood of Cuatro Caminos. One of the stations on this first section, Gran Vía, was 20 metres below ground level, so the architect Antonio Palacios was commissioned to design a lift to connect the underground with the outside, with the Red de San Luis.
No sooner said than done, Palacios created a granite pavilion with a spectacular iron and glass canopy. This structure housed a lift, which cost 5 cents, and had lift operators who operated a lever to make it go up and down. Can you imagine what this novelty meant?
In 1933, following an accident, the initial lift was replaced by two new lifts, which performed an average of 800 lifts a day and transported an average of 30,000 people, quite a feat for the Madrid of the time.
Over the years, the Metro network was expanded, new stations were built and more lifts and escalators were installed. Finally, in 1970, the structure of the Gran Vía station was dismantled. Today it is located in Porriño, the birthplace of its creator.
In any case, the memory of this famous lift has endured and over the years it has become a historic symbol of Madrid's Gran Vía. For this reason, when the Metro station underwent its last renovation, one of the first actions that was considered was to recreate this space in a way that was as faithful as possible to Antonio Palacios’s original solution. Today we can once again enjoy the famous lift that over a century ago transported the people of Madrid to the heart of the underground and allowed them to dream of a new, more modern and innovative city.