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Tower Buildings, Blackpool

Description: Tower Buildings

Grade: I
Date Listed: 10 October 1973
English Heritage Building ID: 183675

OS Grid Reference: SD3062136033
OS Grid Coordinates: 330621, 436033
Latitude/Longitude: 53.8159, -3.0552

Location: Bank Hey Street, Blackpool FY1 2HB

Locality: Blackpool
County: Blackpool
Country: England
Postcode: FY1 2HB

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Listing Text


2/18 Tower Buildings
10.10.1973 (formerly listed as The Tower,
including the Ballroom)


Entertainment complex 1891-4; architects Maxwell and Tuke, engineer
R.J.G. Reade, contractors Heenan and Froude. Consists of imitation of
Eiffel Tower, surrounded by brick-faced quadrilateral block of 3 unequal
storeys containing principally: Ballroom over ground floor cafe at north
end; Circus in centre; and aquarium (altered) on ground floor and Roof
Gardens on top floor of south end.

Tower of open steel girders. Square plan; four concrete foundation blocks
35 feet square and 12 feet thick with rolled steel joists and steel
bedplates support four square-braced stanchions, each consisting of four
pillars braced together with lattice girders, tapering in the height from
100 feet width at base to 30 feet width under main gallery, which is
enclosed in glass, with three open galleries above. Ogee shaped cap,
topped with flagmast terminating 518 feet above ground.

Ballroom: Originally promenade and concert room, enlarged and
reconstructed in 1899 by Maxwell and Tuke with decoration by Frank Matcham
executed by De Jong. Restored 1956 by Andrew Mazzei, after fire damage.
Rectangular plan along north side of Tower buildings, rising from 1st floor
level, with galleries on two levels along north, west and south sides, and
proscenium at east end. Seven bays, with square columns passing through
galleries, topped by winged herms between cross vaults bearing overhanging
convex balustrade over each bay; panels within vaults decorated with
cartouches displaying names of composers. First gallery straight, second
gallery composed of convex bays passing columns, and curved round west end
of ballroom: both faced with rocaille mouldings. At east end galleries
terminate in squinch-set box with onion-dome, openings now screened with
curvilinear lattice. Rectangular proscenium, containing canted wings with
doorways, flanked by fluted columns; canopy, with lattice and rocaille
moulding, bearing curved and lettered cornice and massive swan-neck
pediment, with Three Graces between. Vaulted ceiling has large rocaille
panels containing Baroque paintings, and oval-ended skylight in centre.

Circus: Arena, 1891-4 by Maxwell and Tuke, originally in Chinese style,
remodelled 1900 (probably by Frank Matcham) in Islamic style. Square plan
between feet of Tower, rising from basement level to include innermost
stanchion of each leg and the inner of each pair of arched braces between
stanchions. These structural elements are incorporated into comprehensively
Moorish-Islamic design. Arches have soffits cusped in vigorously rythmic
sequence of multifoil arches, with matching but subdued patterns in relief
on the sides; pendentives filled with 5-sided and inverted-pyramidal
structure of composite design, with cusp-profiled horse-shoe opening above.
Base of stanchions boxed with marble slabs. Recessed straight-fronted
balconies under arches at springer level, decorated with low relief
pattern of interlacing arches; screened mezzanine balcony on north side,
with 7 fretted windows. Boxes incorporated with stanchions, square at
south-east corner, convex at north west, with scallop-shell and foliated
moulding on front. Dado of promenade behind seating has glazed tiles with
geometrical pattern. Other wall surfaces and ceiling decorated with
calligraphic detail, interlaced arches, stylized scallops, fan patterns,
etc. Reservoir under ring for aquatic displays.

Roof Garden, now free-flight aviary. Two parallel and adjoining pitched
roofs of glass on iron frame, on south side of roof of Tower buildings.
8 bays; slim composite columns with stiff-leaf capitals supporting
semi-circular longitudinal arcading with cross-braced girders above;
semi-circular roof braces springing from corbels at spandrel level of
columns, with arabesque open work in spandrels and at apex. Clerestory
of plain windows with glazing bars over south arcade, with segmental
aisle, glass-covered, descending to eaves level of outer wall.

There have been successive alterations to function and decoration of
other parts of the interior of the Tower building, with fragments of
earlier chinoiserie in top floor on west side; but massive staircase
in red terracotta, rising from main entrance on west side, survives

Listing NGR: SD3062136033

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.