14th May 1894. Blackpool Tower.
The wealthy had holidayed at Blackpool since the end of the 18thc taking a day to get there by stage coach from Manchester.
Blackpool Tower was opened to the public Today, Whit Sunday in 1894. Three years later the top caught fire.
In its early days it was badly maintained and subject to corrosion and even considered for demolition. However it was decided to replace the steel-work between 1921-24.
It was conceived by Blackpool hotelier and town mayor John Bickerstaffe in 1889 after a visit to the Great Paris Exhibition where he saw Eiffel’s Tower and decided to collect a committee of local businessmen together to raise the necessary funds.
On 29th September 1891 the foundation stone was laid and building took 3 years to complete, using 5 million Accrington bricks and 2,500 tons of steel. Costing £290,000 it took 200 men to build, with only one fatality.
The design was by Messrs. Maxwell & Tuke architects of Manchester who said the idea ‘was feasible and laudable’.
By 19th of February 1891 the Blackpool Tower Company was registered and land found.
Blackpool Tower, unlike the Eiffel, is not free-standing as it sits on a basement which houses the circus and Lancashire cotton bales were used in the base to give flexibility in high winds.
The Tower, with its famous ballroom, was built at 518 ft, to rival the Eiffel (completed in 1889), but was to be eclipsed by the 1900 New Brighton Tower at 568ft., later dismantled in 1921.
The illuminations as we know them, came in 1912 to celebrate the first visit to Blackpool by a member of the Royal Family.
The Bickerstaffe Family owned the Tower until 1964 when it was sold to EMI, after which it has passed through many hands.
The photograph on the left shows the brick structure made of the hard, bright red, Accrington Bricks, made near the Lancashire town.
The bricks were also used for Battersea Power Station, The Empire State Building in New York and the original Edgbaston buildings of Birmingham University, thus giving the name Red Brick University.
Getty Images/Pic of Tower.