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


Blackpool Tower (Informal) Opening 1894.

Liverpool Mercury, Tuesday, 15th May, 1894



Perhaps the principal feature of Whitsuntide at Blackpool was the opening of the Blackpool Tower yesterday. This great structure, in connection with which close upon £250,000 has already been spent, has been in course of construction for over two years.

The surrounding buildings are not yet completed, but the tower itself is in such an advanced state that the directors decided to open it on Whit Monday, and the fact that crowds were almost fighting to gain admittance to the lift the whole day throughout demonstrates the great interest taken in this, the first tower to be opened in England.

As yet one elevator only is working, and this was kept going up and down with hardly a minute's interval throughout the day. About 500 people an hour were taken to the top where there is promenading space for over 1000, and the elevator worked in the smoothest possible fashion. In the new Tower Circus three entertainments were given during the day, and at each there were attendances of over 3000 persons, the variety and aquatic performances being of the most successful description.

The foundations of the Blackpool  Tower, which are great blocks of concrete 40 feet square by 12 feet thick, were constructed during the winter of 1891-92. The contractors for the tower, Messrs. Heenan and Froude, of Manchester, got to work in the spring of 1892 and the work of erecting the tower was completed about Christmas last.

The tower proper is supported by four legs, each leg consisting of four pillars braced together with lattice girders, while the legs themselves are also braced together with the main girders. The base of the tower forms the circus, and here there is seating accommodation for over 5000 persons. The first main floor is 55 feet from the ground, and this large area is entirely covered in. Broad flights of steps lead to it from the entrance hall, while two small lifts are also constantly ascending to this floor. From the staircases also, the platform, 85 feet from the ground can be reached, and it is intended to lay this out as a pleasure garden, and it is expected that it will form a most popular lounge and promenade, as there will be accommodation for several thousand people at one time.

 The elevators to the top of the tower start from the 55 feet platform, and the main balcony at which the passengers by the lifts arrive is formed at a level 380 feet above the ground. The area at this height is 44 feet square. The platform to which the cars ascend is entirely covered in so that wet weather need make no difference to those going to the top of the Tower.

From this 380ft. platform access is gained by two staircases to the open-air platforms above, respectively 400ft. and 420ft. from the ground. A spiral staircase leads to the higher platforms, and finally there is an iron ladder to the crow's nest, which is over 500ft. from the ground and 550ft. above the sea level. On clear days a splendid view may be obtained from the top of the tower, and at favourable times the Isle of Man, Southport, Liverpool, Barrow, Preston, Blackburn, Chorley, and surrounding towns can plainly be distinguished.

The two lifts to the top of the tower run quite independently of one another. They can accommodate about 45 passengers each, and while the weight of the car and passengers combined can never exceed ten tons, the seven Reel ropes attached to each car have been tested to carry a weight at least ten times as great. Then safety brakes are attached, which come into action automatically should anything go wrong with the mechanism. Every possible care has been taken to make the elevators perfectly safe, and an accident is believed to be quite out of the bounds of possibility.

The north wing of the building is not yet completed, and the various surroundings of the tower are as yet unfinished, so that the opening of the tower yesterday was of an informal character. The work will be pushed on after Whitsuntide, and the building will be finally completed when the tower comes to be formally opened in another month or two.


 Liverpool Mercury, Wednesday, 14th November, 1894.


The report of the Blackpool Tower Company on the first year's operations has exceeded the most sanguine anticipations. The net receipts for the last eleven months are £12,389 14s. 9d., and of this £5940 7s. 11d. is available as balance. A dividend of 6 per cent. on preferred ordinary shares absorbs £2004, and 4 per cent. on the ordinary shares £1082 4s. 6d. £500 is set aside for the reserve fund.