Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


The Big Wheel Blackpool viewed from the tower c1902.

The Big Wheel Blackpool, viewed from Blackpool Tower c1902.


From an 1899 guide.

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 Blackpool structure.

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.