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John Bickerstaffe Visits The Blackpool Tower
- Thursday 6th April 2023
On 3rd April 2023, we reopened the lifts for to guests to head to the top of Blackpool Tower for the first time in the 2023 season.
One of the first visitors on this day was John Bickerstaffe, the great grandson of Sir John Bickerstaffe, who was visiting the Tower for the very first time with his two daughters and three grandchildren.
Sir John Bickerstaffe devised the plan to create Blackpool's very own Eiffel Tower following a trip to Paris. On May 14th 1894, Bickerstaffe’s dream became a reality when The Blackpool Tower officially opened to an amazed public, offering a unique combination of activities and entertainment never seen before.
Image: Sir John Bickerstaffe's vision for an Eiffel Tower in Blackpool begins construction.
80-year-old John Bickerstaffe from Bristol visited with his daughter Lucy Bickerstaffe who arranged the trip after discovering last year that her father had never ever been to The Blackpool Tower.
Lucy said: “My dad spent last year caring for my mum and although I knew about the family history, I wasn’t aware that my dad had never been to The Blackpool Tower. When I found out that he’d never been to the iconic building his great grandfather was instrumental in creating, I was determined to make it happen.”
On going inside and by lift to the Tower Top, John, a retired Chartered Civil Engineer said: “It is beyond my expectations. It is a magnificent building and being a civil engineer, I just love the riveted structure of it. I am so excited to finally be here; there is so much heritage and it is a truly ornate building.
“This is my second visit to Blackpool. I first came shortly after I married to visit my great aunts but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit The Blackpool Tower. My parents lived in Keswick and when travelling up to see them I used to see The Blackpool Tower across the planes. I’d always planned on visiting but never got around to coming, until now.”
Image: John Bickerstaffe admires the view from the top of his Great Grandfather's tower for the very first time.
John brought his own piece of history to The Blackpool Tower as he adorned the sealing ring that his grandfather was presented with when he was knighted.
John said; “The ring was passed down to my father who wore it all of the time until it passed to me.”
Image: Sir John Bickerstaffe's sealing ring on the hand of his Great Grandson
Aaron Edgar, Head of Operations at The Blackpool Tower, said: “It is incredible having Sir John Bickerstaffe’s great grandson here today, the first day The Blackpool Tower has reopened for the 2023 season.
“I’m honoured to show John and his family around the iconic tower and show them all it has to offer, from the breath-taking ballroom, circus and of course, the Tower Top. Thanks to his great grandfather’s vision, generations have enjoyed many fun and memorable visits to the tower and now John has had the opportunity to as well with his daughters and grandchildren.”
Image: John Bickerstaffe and his 3 grandchildren admiring the silver tower, gifted to Sir John Bickerstaffe which remains on display inside the Tower building.
Sir John Bickerstaffe devised a plan to create Blackpool's very own Eiffel Tower following a trip to Paris. On May 14th 1894, Bickerstaffe’s dream became a reality when The Blackpool Tower officially opened to an amazed public, offering a unique combination of activities and entertainment never seen before.
The total cost for the design and construction of the tower and the buildings was £290,000, around £32.2 million today, and featured a thrilling Circus in a purpose-built arena, a roof garden, a menagerie, an ornate Ballroom and a trip by lift to the Tower Top.