Blackpool Tower 2016

More than 120 years after it was built, Blackpool Tower has won a heritage award.

The structure was given the first North West Civil Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). ICE said the tower was “possibly the most instantly recognisable work of civil engineering in the country” and “all about having fun”.

It beat 12 other entries including Manchester’s Victoria Station.
The £44m redevelopment of the railway station won instead the Large Project Award at a ceremony held in Cumbria on Friday.

Blackpool TowerOther contenders for the heritage award were Thomas Telford’s Nantwich Aqueduct in Cheshire, John Rennie’s Old Tram Bridge in Preston and the 200-year-old Wigan Flight of 23 locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

North West regional director of ICE Darrell Matthews said the tower was “a really interesting nomination” because civil engineering was usually associated with “highly practical things like railways and bridges” whereas Blackpool Tower is “all about having fun”.

But he added: “There’s no doubting the engineering skill that went into designing and building it, so it’s a very worthy winner. The Blackpool Tower is possibly the most instantly recognisable work of civil engineering in the UK.

Chris Hudson from ICE’s Lancashire branch said: “Blackpool Promenade itself is a fantastic showcase of civil engineering old and new – the piers, the sea defences, the tramway – and they’re all amazing works of engineering in their own ways.

“But Blackpool Tower literally stands tall. In fact it’s 518 feet and nine inches of monument to civil engineering genius.”Blackpool Tower award

  • The seafront tower opened in 1894 and more than 3,000 people ascended it on the opening day
  • Its design is inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  • Nine tons of paint are needed to cover the tower
  • The tower is 158m or 518ft
  • The Grade-I listed landmark has been owned by the council since 2010
  • The tower was restored in 2011 and underwent a major 10-month restoration programme
  • On a clear day the tower can be seen from north Wales and the Lake District
  • The glass Skywalk is 5cm thick and can hold the weight of two elephants

Source: BBC