Saturday, 4 September 2021

Yesterday I Found Out That London Has A Lighthouse,

and today I have just found out,

that London nearly had a Tower Of Pisa, (but without the lean), it was a part of the plan that Sir Edward Watkin, a Liberal Unionist MP, decided on, it all started with an impulse that we all know about - national one-upmanship. When the Eiffel Tower opened in Paris in 1889, making Nelson's column look small, British noses were put out of joint, he dreamed up a way for London to hit back one, build a bigger tower! tower, twice the height of Eiffel's and costing a projected £1m, it was modelled on the Tower of Pisa, 

a drawing of Albert Brunel's design for the non-leaning tower of Pisa, image: the plan was dreamed up by one Albert Brunel - no relation of Isambard Kingdom Brunel or his son Marc, Watkin announced that he intended to build the tower 150ft taller than the 984ft Eiffel had managed, "Anything Paris can do," Watkin cheerily proclaimed, "London can do bigger!" The chosen site? Wembley, in the end a design like the Eiffel Tower was selected,

the winning design of Watkin's Tower (proposal n°37), later scrapped and replaced by a four-legged design,

the final four-legged design of Watkin's Tower (shown with the Eiffel Tower for comparison purposes), 

Wembley Park Tower known as Watkin's Folly under construction. Built by the Metropolitan Tower Co under the directorship of Sir Edward Watkin to rival the Eiffel Tower, building stopped in August 1894 and the first platform at 155ft above ground level, opened on May 18 1896. (Photo by London Stereoscopic Company/Hulton Archive/Getty Images), the first stage of the tower was built but soon the company began to run into financial problems and the legs kept collapsing. It had to be scaled back and then scrapped altogether as the company behind it faced liquidation, so that was that! London nearly had a Tower of Pisa or a tower similar to but taller than Eiffel's, it is a fascinating story, if it this interests you the article and Eiffel's involvement is here.

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