Do you even lift

It used to be called the “Elevator of Death”.


If you didn’t know, Attenborough Tower is home to a paternoster lift, one of the few surviving in the UK.

The paternoster lift was invented in the late 19th century and is considered to be the first invented elevator. The life consists of open compartments linked together to move slowly in a circulatory loop up and down the building.

Passengers can use it by stepping into one of the passing compartments on the floor they are on, and travel (very slowly) to the desired floor they wish to be on.

Some students are not thrilled by the existence of this machinery. Eddy, a Geology third year said: “It’s just a slow elevator with no door, I don’t see what the big deal is.’’

The paternoster

The paternoster

Other students are fond of the paternoster and recognizes its importance. Emily, third year English, said: “I didn’t know what the hell it was initially and thought- what’s wrong with the lift and stairs?

“But then it broke down (along with the new-age lift) and I had to walk up 13 flights of stairs every day. That’s when I thought, ‘yes. You have a place my friend’.’’


Attenborough stairs are not for the faint-hearted

Tom, a History and Archaeology third year, said: “It’s different and practical, I quite like using it. Especially since the regular lift is slower as it’s used by everyone else in the building, believe it or not.’’

Third year engineer Chris has never had a lecture in Attenborough, but specifically visited it just to ride the paternoster.

He said: “It’s just something everyone knows about, and has to try out at least once during their study at Leicester University”.


It almost seem like the paternoster is a unique selling point for uni.

Maria, a third year geology student said: “It’s just one of the first things freshers tend to find out about campus. That device is practically ancient; it’s bound to catch peoples’ attention.’’

If you’ve been on campus and haven’t made a trip to the Attenborough Tower to check out this wonderful device, arguably the slowest joy-ride in the world, The Tab has decided to do it for you to save any potential danger.

Below is a time-lapsed video of what it is like to travel all the way up the Attenborough Tower and over the top and underneath the bottom floor (try at your own peril) in case you’ve ever wondered but not had the necessary thrill-seeking attitude.

One student reportedly rode below the bottom floor, pulled the emergency cord and trapped themselves amongst the darkness.


  • Emmy Taylor

    “One student reportedly rode below the bottom floor, pulled the emergency cord and trapped themselves amongst the darkness.”

    The emergency cords are in the doorways at the top of each floor and there’s nothing but blank concrete (and a bit of graffiti) in the pit. it’s literally impossible to trap yourself in either the pit or the loft