Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Tower - Jewel of the North West Coast

My son once told me that he could just about see Blackpool Tower if he stuck he his head out of the rear Velux window in his new loft conversion bedroom.  I was horrified, knowing that he must have climbed on to the wrong side of the banister and be sitting or standing on it with the drop of the stairs behind him. He certainly wasn’t tall enough to stretch from the other side. With visions of his mates coming round to see, and the real possibility of accidents, I locked the window and told him I did not want bits of broken boys on the landing. He was eleven at the time. The threat of being sent back to his old bedroom was enough. These days, it’s the attic again as we find ourselves housing many items for our grown up children who have long since fled the nest into homes of their own, homes lacking in storage space it would seem.

Both son and daughter had their fourth birthdays at the Tower. It was Jungle Jim’s, a ride to the top and the circus. The aquarium had recently moved to the Sea Life Centre when our son was four and the space was taken up with a dinosaur exhibition. A bit scary, for me. The view from the top is incredible. I haven’t ventured on to the outside platforms, so it could be argued that I haven’t actually been to the top, though I have stood on the glass floor known as the ‘walk of faith’ and looked down.

The highest building I have elevated is the Empire State Building many years ago. That was a great view of New York and surrounding areas. I’m not worried by heights but I can’t cope with crowds and it was too busy for me to wait to get an ‘I’m at the top of the Empire State Building’ medal. I think it was still the tallest skyscraper in New York at that time.

There’s something about building towers that fascinates children.  I worked with young children in an infant school and I watch my grandchildren doing the same thing. They nearly always build upwards and have fun knocking it down. Occasionally a child will make a straight line instead.
One day I might follow in the footsteps of Sir John Bickerstaffe and visit Paris, where a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower would be a must, and maybe I'd share his vision.

My poem was originally written as an exercise, now slightly re-edited.
Blackpool Tower       (McGonagal style)
“I know what we need,” Mr Bickerstaffe said,
Leaning back in his chair with his hands in his head.
He’d been to Paris and seen their tower
So decided to exercise some mayoral power.
“We could have one. Build it here.
There’s space just north of Central Pier.”
From his own funds he chucked in two grand
For building to commence on Promenade land,
And in September, 1891
The architects laid the foundation stone.
“They’ll come from miles,” Mr Bickerstaffe cried
“When to the very top they can ride!
Here in Blackpool we’ll have the most
Amazing tower on our golden coast!”
Girder by girder the tower took shape
As cynics below would stare and gape
And mutter about how long it would be
Before Bickerstaffe’s folly got washed out to sea.
“I’ve another idea!” Mr Bickerstaffe exclaimed,
With pride at the thought of being acclaimed.
“We’ll put in a circus with lions and clowns
And be the envy of all other towns.
Sixpence admission, another sixpence to pay
For the circus, and again for the ride; 1/6d for all day!”
And then, at last it was complete,
Reaching nearly 519 feet
And to the public, opened its door
On the 14th May, 1894.
 Pamela Winning 2010 (edited 2018)
(The photo of Blackpool is from Visit Lancashire and is the best I've ever seen of the Tower)

Thanks for reading, Pam x



Steve Rowland said...

Most entertaining Pam.

Anonymous said...

Tower power.