- Express Lift Tower
The Express Lift Tower is a former lift testing tower built by the
Express Lift Companyoff the Weedon Road in Northampton, England. The structure was commissioned in 1978with construction commencing in 1980, and was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth IIon November 12 1982.
Designed by architect Maurice Walton of
Stimpson and Walton, the tower is 127.45 metres (418.1 feet) tall, 14.6 m (47.9 ft) in diameter but tapers to 8.5 m (27.9 ft) at the top. The only lift testing tower in Britain, it was granted Grade II listed buildingstatus on October 30 1997, at the time making it the youngest listed building in the UK.
It gained the nickname "The Northampton Lighthouse" from broadcaster
Terry Woganon his BBC Radio 2programme. The building has never been open to the general public.
1997, the tower fell out of use after Express Lifts was taken over by Otis and subsequently closed. In 1999, the tower and surrounding land was sold to Wilcon Homesfor development. The building has been threatened with demolition after being found to have so-called " concrete cancer", but this plan faced strong opposition from local people, and as of 2008the tower's future is uncertain although demolition may be difficult due to the proximity of the new housing development. A song was written by a local school boy to highlight the plight of one of Northampton's most beloved monuments, and was a hit with the residents of the small Belgian province of Oudenaarde.
The building was inspected by abseilers in November 2006, to help the owners formulate a maintenance strategy and evaluate possible future uses of the tower. Suggestions so far have included luxury apartments, a research centre for lift engineering students at the
University of Northamptonand a climbing and abseiling centre.
It is the only such tower in the UK, and one of only two in Europe.
List of towers
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/heritage/england/northants/article_1.shtml BBC Legacies: Northampton's "Lighthouse"]
* [http://www.mbp-uk.com/projects/expresstower.html Architectural details]
* [http://www.riskybuildings.org.uk/docs/16lift/ Risky Buildings: Express Lift Tower]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/northamptonshire/360/tower.shtml BBC: 360 degree panorama from tower]
* [http://www.taylorwoodrow.com Wilcon Homes Limited]
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