The Copycat Tower That Didn’t Survive

The New Brighton Tower in its hay day

You would be forgiven for thinking that this grainy, black and white photograph depicts our very own Blackpool Tower, but if you look closer, you’ll notice that there are a few differences despite the many similarities. This is because it’s not the Blackpool Tower, but is actually a photograph of a copycat attraction, which once stood tall in New Brighton, Wirral, Merseyside. It was a full 15 metres taller than the original structure that we still have in Blackpool today!



The Attraction Grounds

The construction of the New Brighton Tower promised a bright future for the local economy

The New Brighton Tower was a giant project that was constructed in 1898. It occupied a large area

of land that was not only made up of the tower, but also a boating lake, funfair, beautiful gardens and even a sports and recreational ground. The sports grounds were used by football teams and also had an athletics track and motorcycle speedway.



The Structure and The Similarities to The Blackpool Tower

The Tower

The tower building itself was a lot like the Blackpool Tower which still stands today. There was of course the tower itself. This had 4 lifts, which could each reach the top of the tower in just 90 seconds. It was possible for the lifts to transport 2000 people over just one hour. The views from the top of the tower were spectacular, giving visitors a clear view in good weather conditions of the Liverpool skyline, as well as out towards the Isle of Man across the Irish Sea. The Lake District and the Welsh Mountains could also be seen on clear days. This was a popular attraction, with around half a million visitors travelling to the top of the structure in the first year after opening.

The Ballroom

Another similarity was the ballroom. This ballroom had a sprung dance floor. With room for over 1000 couples and space for couples to practise their dances before joining others on the dance floor. With the close proximity of the tower to the hometown of the Beatles, it’s not surprising that the world famous band played there. In fact, The Beatles were regulars at the ballroom, having performed there 27 times!

The Theatre

Instead of a circus, the New Brighton Tower had a theatre, which could accommodate an audience of 2,500, at the time this made it the largest theatre outside London.

The Demolition of the New Brighton Tower

Closure and Subsequent Demise

At the start of the First World War in 1914, the tower was closed and the structure was not maintained whilst it was closed. Like the Blackpool Tower, the New Brighton Tower would have needed almost constant and regular maintenance in order to keep the metalwork in good condition. As it was not looked after, it became rusty and fell into a state of disrepair. The government wanted the tower to strip it of its metal and so during the war, it made several unsuccessful bids to buy the tower.

Due to the state of the attraction following the war and the estimated costs of repair work, a decision was made to dismantle it. Although many believed that it could still be salvaged, work began to demolish it in 1919 and it was all gone by 1921 except for the ballroom. In the end, the metal from the tower was sold for scrap. Sadly, the ballroom was destroyed by a fire on April 5th 1969. It is not known what caused the fire.

Until September 7th 2016, The New Brighton Tower was the tallest structure in the UK to be demolished.

The Aftermath Of The Tower and Future Plans

After the fire destroyed the ballroom, the sturcture’s grounds were used to build a new housing estate. This is now known as River View Park and the area also comprises of a community football pitch and swing park.

There was an unsuccessful bid in 1997 for Wirral Council to secure Millennium Funding for a new tower in a similar location. It was also announced in June 2017 that there are new plans to build a tower in a more modern design in New Brighton in an attempt to bring back some popularity to the area.

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