The Lancaster Gazette, Wednesday, 30th September, 1891
AN EIFFEL TOWER AT BLACKPOOL.
Over fifty special trains were run from the principal centres in
Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the Midlands, and many thousands of excursionists were
added to the large visiting population already there. The promenade and the
principal streets were gaily decorated, and in every respect the festivities were
nicely arranged and carried out.
The proceedings commenced at one o'clock, when the guests
invited by the Tower Company were received by the Mayor of Blackpool who is
chairman of the company, accompanied by the Mayoress, at the Imperial Hotel.
the foundation stone of Blackpool Tower, 25th Sept,
1891. Click on the image to
An hour later a procession was formed, in which over eighty
landaus, containing the visitors, five bands, the local police, the life boat, the
fire brigade, and the volunteers took part. The procession traversed the whole
length of the promenade, the entire distance of over three miles being: densely
crowded, and then returned to the site of the tower, which is in the centre of the
Lying midway between the two piers, the site is at present
occupied by the Aquarium, menagerie, and a large hotel. it has been transferred to
the Tower Company at a cost of £94,000.
The existing buildings upon it are to be removed during the
coming winter, and the erection of new ones which are to surround the tower is to
be commenced at once. The buildings are to be completed if possible by next season,
but the tower, which will be 500ft. High, is not expected to be finished until the
summer of 1893.
Sir Matthew White Ridley
Click on the picture for more info.
Upon the arrival of the guests on the ground, the ceremony of
laying the foundation stone was performed by Sir Matthew White Ridley, member of
Parliament for the Blackpool Division.
A silver trowel, an ivory mallet, and a gold medal commemorative
of the day having been presented to him, Sir Matthew expressed the hope that the
building would result in public as well as private advantage.
True, it was not intended to be an educational or charitable
institution, nor yet a Town Hall; still, legitimate pleasure and recreation were
becoming more and more regarded as a desirable and even as a necessary addition to
the monotonous lives of the toiling millions.
He therefore, regarded the foundation-stone-laying of what was
to be a gigantic attraction to the town as a very fitting occasion for popular
rejoicing and for public ceremonial.
foundation stone of Blackpool Tower, 25th Sept, 1891; detail from
the previous photo. Sir Matthew White Ridley is on the left of
the stone and John Bickerstaffe is to the right of him.
Click on the image to enlarge.
He hoped that Blackpool would long continue to be a town where
crowds of busy workers from manufacturing districts could combine order and
sobriety with exuberant enjoyment, and where they could take their pleasure without
either licence or excess.
Later in the day, a banquet was held, at which about 140 guests
were present, including Sir Matthew White Ridley M.P., and the mayors of the
provincial boroughs already enumerated. A lengthy toast-list was honoured, and a
number of congratulatory speeches delivered.
At night there was a grand firework display from both piers, and
crowds assembled to witness this closing feature of the festivities. Despite the
crowded state of the promenade during the day the whole of the proceedings passed
off without any accident of a serious character.