Blackpool Tower Wins North West Civil Engineering Heritage Award

The civil engineering consultants behind Blackpool Tower would no doubt be proud of the fact that the structure has just been presented with the inaugural North West Civil Engineering Heritage Award by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

According to the BBC, the tower beat other entries to claim the top prize, including Victoria Station in Manchester, with the ICE saying it was “possibly the most instantly recognisable work of civil engineering in the country”.

“There’s no doubting the engineering skill that went into designing and building it, so it’s a very worthy winner,” Darrell Matthews, north-west regional director of the ICE, was quoted as saying.

Other entries included John Rennie’s Old Tram Bridge in Preston and Thomas Telford’s Nantwich Aqueduct in Cheshire.

Blackpool Tower itself was built back in 1894 and has become one of the best loved landmarks to be found in Britain. It was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris and stands proud at 158 metres tall, making it the 103rd tallest freestanding tower in the entire world.

It was designed by two architects from Lancashire, James Maxwell and Charles Tuke, who oversaw the laying of the foundation stone in 1891. Sadly, come 1894 and the day the tower opened, both men had died. When it first opened, an impressive 3,000 customers took the ride to the top of the tower, paying just sixpence for admission,

However, during the first 30 years of its existence, the tower was not painted properly and corrosion took hold. There were ideas being floated about demolishing it but a rebuild was decided upon instead, with all steelwork replaced between 1921 and 1924.