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Tower of strength fo or 125yrs; UNSEEN PICS OF AN ICON OF THE BR RITISH SEASIDE.


It's Lancashire's answer to the Eiffel Tower, visible from the Lake District to North Wales and the focus of a million happy holiday memories.

Blackpool Tower has attracted hordes of visitors since it opened in 1894, just three years after its taller, more elegant Parisian sister.

And now previously unseen photographs have been unearthed to celebrate the landmark's 125th birthday on May 14.

Published with 100-yeaold promotion brochures, they show it at various stages of building and illustrate its history into the modern era. Standout images include Art Deco drawings from 1919, elaborate gold and silver foil designs from the 1930s and a sobering grey outline of the tower from during the Blitz in 1941.

Other pictures date back to 1891 when thousands lined the promenade to view the foundation stone being laid.

The 518ft 9in or 158m tower was the brainchild of former Blackpool mayor Sir John Bickerstaffe who visited the 1889 World Fair in Paris and was inspired by Gustave Eiffel's 1,063ft edifice.

At first it was far from a soaring success. The Blackpool Tower Company offered PS150,000 worth of shares to the public but only two-thirds were taken up, forcing the directors to ask for more cash from existing shareholders.

The company's poor financial situation was worsened by its falling share price, forcing Bicker-staffe to buy up all the available shares. But eventually funding was secured and building began, using five million bricks, 3,478 tons of steel and 352 tons of cast iron.

The total cost for design and construction was about PS290,000 - PS37million at today's prices.

On May 14 staff in replica Victorian uniforms will welcome guests and lifetime admission will be given to babies born at the town's Victoria Hospital on the day.

During the celebrations, the organisers hope to enable every local child up to the age of 11 to visit the top of the world's 120th-tallest freestanding building where views stretch as far as the Isle of Man, 60 miles across the Irish Sea.

General manager Kenny Mew said: "It is an incredible honour to run the tower in such a landmark year. It resonates in the hearts and minds of all of its guests since it opened all those years ago.

"From spotting it as you ap-proach the resort to seeing it sparkling during the illuminations, it is a staple of the town's history and celebrates the very best of British."

Unlike the Eiffel Tower, Blackpool's base is hidden by a threestorey redbrick block housing a variety of attractions, including the iconic Tower Ballroom.

The lavish Victorian edifice, which features every year as a venue on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing, will hold a VIP event with performances from musicians including Phil Kelsall, resident organist at the ballroom for more than 40 years.

In March the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge enjoyed a slightly rainy day out in Blackpool.

Kate and William started with a visit to the tower, joined a briefing about regeneration efforts in the town and took part in a walkabout to meet local people.

The visit came 27 years after Wills' mother, Princess Diana, opened the refurbished tower complex in 1992. Artists who have performed there over the years include Arthur Askey, Duke Ellington, celebrated Polish concert pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Dame Clara Butt and Cleo Laine.

In 1940, during the Second World War, the crow's nest at the top of the tower was removed to allow the it to be used as a Royal Air Force radar station.

The steelwork is usually painted dark red but in 1994 - the landmark's centenary year - it was redecorated in gold by abseiling painters known as "stick men".

And in 1977 the top was painted silver as part of Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations. @MirrorNews


In 1894 it cost 6d to enter the Tower and a further 6d to go to the top

Its original 10,000 light bulbs have been replaced by 25,000 LEDs

It takes seven years to paint

In 1894 a Norwegian ship was wrecked after mistaking it for a lighthouse

A post box was opened at the top in 1949

In 1984 a giant King Kong was placed on the tower

In 70mph winds, the top sways an inch


ATTRACTION Crowds at the stone laying and, right, ad brochure

HIGH HOPES Tripp beach see coastal icpers on the con rising

REACH FOR SKY Steelwork begins to take shape

STANDING TALL Tower after its completion in 1894
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 3, 2019
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