Pier, wheel and Tower at night

The Blackpool Tower Heritage Facts

Built in 1894, The Blackpool Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in the UK and one of Britain’s best loved landmarks. It houses five amazing attractions, perfect for a fun packed day for all to enjoy.

Find out how strong the glass SkyWalk is, how much the Blackpool Tower originally cost to make and how long it takes to clean the chandeliers in the Ballroom.

Below you’ll find facts from The Blackpool Tower’s opening through to the present day.

To find out more about Blackpool's merky past, visit the Blackpool Tower Dungeon website click here > 

The Blackpool Tower Sign

The Blackpool Tower

  • The glass Skywalk is 5cm thick and can hold the weight of two elephants.
  • Nine tons of paint are needed to cover the Tower.
  • On a clear day the Blackpool Tower can be seen from North Wales and the Lake District.
  • The lifts to The Blackpool Tower Eye take just 69 seconds to travel 315ft.
  • The Blackpool Tower Eye is closed if the wind speed exceeds 45 miles per hour.
  • Over 3,000 people ascended the Tower on the opening day.
  • The Blackpool Tower Ascent lifts travel approximately 3,500 miles per year.
  • During World War Two The Blackpool Tower Eye was closed. It reopened in August 1946.
  • The Hydraulic lifts to the Tower Top were rebuilt and wining gear replaced in 1956-57. Completely new lifts and winding gear were installed in 1991.
  • Jungle Jim’s was originally the Tower Roof Gardens with palms, ferns and a concert area.
The Blackpool Tower

The Ballroom

  • The original Blackpool Tower Ballroom was a smaller pavilion opened in August 1894. Its stage was on the south side of the room.
  • The present Ballroom was designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1899.
  • The first Wurlitzer organ was installed in the Ballroom in 1929. It was replaced in 1935 with one to Reginald Dixon’s specification.
  • The Ballroom floor measures 120 feet by 102 feet. It comprises 30,602 separate blocks of mahogany, oak and walnut.
  • Excluding his time in the RAF during World War Two, Reginald Dixon played the Ballroom’s Wurlitzer organ from 1930 until his retirement in 1969. He returned for a farewell concert in 1970 to mark 40 years at the Blackpool Tower.
  • Phil Kelsall has played the organ at the Blackpool Tower since 1975. He began playing in the Circus. Phill Kelsaal still plays the organ in The Blackpool Tower Ballroom to this day.
  • Among the Ballroom’s one-time strict rules were:- “Gentlemen may not dance unless with a lady” and “disorderly conduct means immediate expulsion”.
  • The inscription above the Ballroom stage, “Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear”, is from a sonnet by Shakespeare – Venus and Adonis.
  • The names of 16 composers are to be found around the Ballroom.
  • In December 1956, the Ballroom was badly damaged by fire, during which the dance floor was destroyed, along with the restaurant below. It took two years and £500,000 to restore the Ballroom to its former splendour. The restaurant became the Tower Lounge.
  • Each of the large crystal chandeliers in the Ballroom can be lowered to the floor and takes over a week to clean.
  • Originally dancing was not permitted on Sundays. Instead of dancing, an evening of sacred music was performed.
The Blackpool Tower Ballroom

The Circus

  • The Blackpool Tower Circus first opened to the public on 14th May 1894. Admission was from 6d.
  • The Blackpool Tower Circus has never missed a season since it began in 1894.
  • The Blackpool Tower Circus is positioned at the base of the Tower between its four legs.
  • The present interior of the Circus was created by the famous theatre designer, Frank Matcham, and was completed in 1900.
  • Animals have not appeared in the Blackpool Tower Circus from 1990.
  • For each era of The Blackpool Tower Circus there has been a resident clown. Today it is Mooky, but previous generations laughed at the antics of August & September, Doodles and the well remembered Charlie Cairoli.
  • Long before he became famous as a Hollywood film star, the comedian, W.C.Fields, spent a season before the First World War at the Circus as a juggler.
  • When flooded, the Circus ring can hold up to 42,000 gallons of water to a depth of 4 feet 6 inches.
  • Sporting events that have been held in the circus ring include boxing, wrestling and snooker.
  • Bolton comedian Peter Kay performed his show which later became “Live from the Top of the Tower” on 10th-11th April 2000. It was performed in The Blackpool Tower Circus arena.
The Blackpool Tower Circus

Blackpool Tower Heritage

  • There are more than five million bricks in the Tower Buildings.
  • The Tower alone contains 2,493 tons of steel and 93 tons of cast iron. The building at the base contains 985 tons of steel and 259 tons of cast iron.
  • Each of the four legs of the Tower rest on concrete foundations 35 feet square and 12 feet deep.
  • The height to the top of the flagpole is 518 feet 9 inches.
  • The original Tower was only going to be 450 foot high.
  • The Blackpool Tower first opened to the public on 14th May 1894.
  • The Blackpool Tower generated its own electricity until 1924.
  • The Blackpool Tower and Tower Buildings had cost approximately £290,000 by 1896. The original tender for the Blackpool Tower itself had been £42,000, but extra steel was needed to make it perfectly safe and this raised the figure to about £65,000.
  • The original admission charge to the Blackpool Tower Buildings was 6d and a further 6d to go up the lifts to the Tower Top. The Circus admission was also extra.
  • It takes seven years to paint The Blackpool Tower structure from top to bottom. This time includes the replacement of any corroded steel work.
  • Originally 10,000 light bulbs are used to illuminate the Blackpool Tower. These have been replaced by 25,000 eco-friendly LED lights.
  • The Blackpool Tower is a Grade One Listed Building.
  • The total area occupied by the Tower Buildings is 6,040 square yards.
  • It takes 15,000 yards of carpet to cover the floor of the Blackpool Tower Building.
  • The Silver Model of The Blackpool Tower was presented to the Chairman of the Tower Company, Alderman (later Sir) John Bickerstaffe by the Shareholders in 1898, in appreciation of his role in ensuring The Tower was built and its commercial success. After the death of Sir John Bickerstaffe it was stipulated in his will that the Silver Tower should remain in The Blackpool Tower.

 

To find out more of Blackpool's merky past, visit the Blackpool Tower Dungeon website click here > 

The Blackpool Tower

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