A day in the life of our lift guardian

John, the custodian of the last man-operated lift in London, is always on our guests’ level. Whether they are returning guests or visiting Claridge’s for the first time, when they step into the lift, they are greeted like an old friend.

Keeping history alive

At the heart of Claridge’s there is a room that, despite being among the smallest, is also one of its most memorable: the man-operated lift.

The lift – and its long line of lift guardians – has transported guests to and from the lobby since 1896. It was installed as part of Richard D’Oyly Carte’s reinvention and, since 2009, the operation of the lift has been in the hands of John.

Making connections

With its vintage scissor gate, art deco tiles, mirrors and upholstered seat, the man-operated lift provides a timeless experience. John enjoys meeting the huge variety of people who pass through the doors of Claridge’s – from families and couples to visiting celebrities and royalty. “I love what I do, because I get to speak to so many different people,” says John.

As the journey may only last moments, John takes pride in his ability to connect with people in a short amount of time. An essential skill for the job? “A winning smile,” he says. 

A people person

Away from Claridge’s, John is a family man who is happiest spending time with his wife and looking after their grandchildren.


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