The Big Wheel Blackpool, viewed from Blackpool Tower
THE GREAT WHEEL.
From an 1899
The Great Wheel—erected at the south west corner of the
Winter Gardens grounds—forms a distinctive feature of the town's general appearance. This
wheel—which is the second of its kind to be erected in the United Kingdom—was the subject during
and after erection of much litigation respecting the validity of patent rights held by Lieut.
Graydon, the patentee of the Earls Court Wheel, and Mr. W. B. Bassett, the erector of the
Despite these contentions, however, the Wheel was opened
to the public in 1896 after being formally christened by Mrs. Pearson, the wife of Mr. James
Pearson, chairman of the Winter Gardens Company. It stands 250 feet high and is estimated to
weigh over 1000 tons. The diameter across the centre of the pins is 200 feet. The steel axle is
interesting as being the largest solid axle in Europe. It Measures 41 feet in length, 5 feet 3
inches across the flanges, 2 feet 2 inches through the journals, and weighs 28 tons.
Thirty saloon cars are attached to the periphery—the wheel
being built on the bicycle principle—and these are capable of accommodating 1000 passengers each
journey. The wheel is driven by means of steel cables attached to drums, propelled by two
powerful engines located on the north side—a method said to be an improvement on the principles
of the London and Chicago wheels; Electric lamps are fixed around the sides of the girder
circles and these act as a pretty advertisement after dark.