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Britain's Largest Structure of the 19th Century. The New Brighton Tower & Ballroom

New Brighton Tower was a steel lattice observation tower at New Brighton in the town of Wallasey, Cheshire (now in the Borough of Wirral, in Merseyside), England. It stood 567 feet (173 m) high, and was the tallest building in Great Britain when it opened some time between 1898 and 1900. Neglected during the First World War and requiring renovation the owners could not afford, dismantling of the tower began in 1919, and the metal was sold for scrap. The building at its base, housing the Tower Ballroom, continued in use until damaged by fire in 1969.


The tower was set in large grounds, which included a boating lake, a funfair, gardens, and a sports ground. The sports ground housed, at different times, a football team, an athletics track and a motorcycle speedway track. The Beatles played at the Tower Ballroom 27 times, more than at any other venue in the United Kingdom except the Cavern Club in nearby Liverpool.

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The Blackpool Tower is a tourist attraction in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, which was opened to the public on 14 May 1894, 5 Years before New Brighton. It was Inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it rises to 158 metres (518 feet). The tower is a Grade I listed building. For a limited period of time, the Blackpool Tower was overshadowed by the Tower situated at New Brighton, Cheshire. But the Blackpool Tower remains, unlike that of New Brighton.

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The company Maxwell and Tuke, who had designed Blackpool Tower buildings and Southport Winter Gardens, was responsible for overseeing and supervising the project, despite the deaths in 1893 of the company founders, James Maxwell and William Charles Tuke. The excavations and laying of the foundations for the tower were contracted to William Clapham of Stockport.The primary contractor for the tower was Andrew Handyside and Company, based in Derby.


The ground breaking happened on 22 June 1896, before the formation of the new company, completion of land purchase and announcement of contracts on 26 July 1896.[2] The construction of the steel lattice tower started in July 1897 and was completed some time between 1898 and 1900, 10 years after the Blackpool Tower had been finished. The grounds were opened before then for a short period in 1897 however. New Brighton Tower was the tallest building in England, standing 567 feet (173 m) tall and 621 feet (189 m) above sea-level.A total of 1000 tons (1,016,047 kg) of mild or low-carbon steel was used, at a cost of £120,000,in contrast to the earlier Blackpool and Eiffel towers, both constructed using wrought iron. The building below the New Brighton Tower, which was to contain the ballroom, was constructed by Peters and Sons of Rochdale. It was a four-storey red-brick building with arched windows and hexagonal, copper-domed turrets.


A series of accidents during the tower's construction resulted in the deaths of six workmen and serious injury to another. Two of the men, Jonathan Richardson and Alexander Stewart, were killed when a crane hook snapped and a girder fell and hit the scaffold platform on which they were standing, causing them to fall to the ground. A third man, John Daly, suffered serious injuries. The other four were killed in separate incidents by falling off the tower structure. A fire on the tower at 172 feet (52 m) in 1898 resulted in the death of a fire-fighter from the New Brighton Fire Brigade.[18] He fell 90 feet (27 m) while walking along a beam 6-inch (150 mm) wide to try and extinguish the flames

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Live: Mersey Beat Showcase, Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, Wallasey, Cheshire.

14th June 1963.

The Beatles at New Brighton Tower Ballroom

This was the last of 27 live shows by The Beatles at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton, a seaside resort in the town of Wallasey, Merseyside.


The venue was capable of holding up to 5,000 people, making it one of the largest venues played by The Beatles at this time. They had first played there in October 1961, at an 'Operation Big Beat' event which drew 3,000.


On this evening it was one of Brian Epstein's Mersey Beat Showcase concerts, in which The Beatles headlined a bill made up of acts managed by Epstein's NEMS Enterprises.


The ballroom, which was situated beneath the 567-foot New Brighton Tower, was destroyed by fire in 1969. The area has since been redeveloped as River View Park.


At 11.45 after the show, Paul McCartney was stopped by police for driving over the speed limit on Seabank Road in Wallasey, Merseyside. On 26 August 1963 he received a fine and a one-year driving ban.


The Beatles played at the Tower Ballroom on 27 occasions. The other dates were 10 and 24 November; 1, 8, 15 and 26 December 1961; 12, 19 and 26 January; 15, 16 and 23 February; 2 March; 6 April; 21 and 29 June; 13, 21 and 27 July; 17 August; 14 and 21 September; 12 October; 23 November; 1 and 7 December 1962.

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Ringo Starr had been the drummer for rival Liverpool band Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, and had played with The Beatles several times in Hamburg. George Martin was not impressed with Best's playing and privately suggested to Brian Epstien that the band should use another drummer in the studio. Though Best had some popularity and was considered good-looking by many female fans, the three founding members had become increasingly unhappy with his drumming and his moody personality, and Epstein had become exasperated with his refusal to adopt the distinctive hairstyle as part of their unified look. Both the Beatles and Rory Storm Played at the Ballroom.

12th October 1962, Live at the New brighton Tower Ballroom. This was The Beatles' 23rd show at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton, Wallasey.


The show was promoted by Brian Epstein's NEMS company. It featured 12 acts, and was headlined by the US rock 'n' roll legend Little Richard, whom The Beatles knew from Hamburg.

Removal Proccess of the New Brighton Tower from 1919 - 1921

The Stage - Thursday 03 March 1910


The financial result of the working of the New Brighton Tower and Recreation Co., Limited, for last year has proved to be the best since the grounds were opened. In a great measure this has been due to the leading railway companies running special Tower trips," The establishment appears to have entered upon a prosperous career at last. This year more side shows will be in evidence, and every effort will be made by Mr. R. H. Davy and the efficient staff to Surpass anything previously attempted. The grounds will bo opened on Good Friday. Mr. J. W. Turner's English opera company will commence a season of grand opera in thr lower theatre on the following day. The Sunday concerts, which have proved sj very popular, will reopen on Easter Sunday, when Mme. Edna Thornton will b} the principal vocalist.


Accessed 20th March 2018

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Monday 07 November 1898


NEW BRIGHTON TOWER MYSTERY police Wallasey are still unable state who was the young man whoso mangled remains were Friday evening found in New Brighton Tower Grounds Macintosh and walking stick had been left on the 85 feet balcony of the structure, and this circumstance, and the fact that the body was discovered some distance from wall of the building, induce the belief that the deceased did not fall accidentally, but committed suicide.


Accessed 20th March 2018

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Thursday 03 September 1908


NEW BRIGHTON TOWER TRAGEDY. COWBOY FOUND SHOT. Yesterday afternoon, just before the Wild West performance at New Brighton Tower began, a tragic discovery was made in the arena, George Price, a cowboy from Oklahoma, aged twenty-two, who came over with Colonel Cummins, being found dead, with the top of his head blown on. It is said that Price was to have been married to-day to an English girl, and he had heard to refer of late to his lack of money. t rice was the ammunition man. whose duty it was to see to the firearms, and it is not known yet whether the affair was an accident or whether was a case of suicide.


Accessed 20th March 2018

Liverpool Evening Express - Tuesday 21 November 1939


WRESTLING THE TOWER NEW BRIGHTON TOMORROW (Wednesday), 7.30 p.m. SPECIAL ATTRACTION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NEW BRIGHTON TEAM WRESTLING GENTLEMEN: Whipper Billy Watson (Capt), Vic Hesselle, Bob McNab, Joe Reid RIOT SQUAD: Jumping Joe Devalto (Capt), jack Hunter, Wild Tarzan, joss Simms THIS IS THE LATEST AND MOST THRILLING FORM OF WRESTLING. Book Early avoid disappointment (Walt. 276) Popular Prices: 1 /• 2/- 3/- 4/-


Accessed 20th March 2018


Montgomery County Times and Shropshire and Mid-Wales Advertiser - Saturday 15 January 1898


The New Brighton Tower is finished. The top- most height of the highest structure in the kingdom has been reached. In July, 1895, the work of building this wonderful pile was commenced, and now the skeleton-like tower has become a familiar feature among the landmarks of the port of Liverpool. But while looking with admiration upon this example of engineering and architectural skill, it is not everyone who is aware that the New Brighton Tower holds the unique distinction of being absolutely the highest spire in the whole of the United Kingdom. The distance from the ground to the the bright copper ball planted on the top of the flagpole up in the sky is no less than 567 feet, or, to be strictly accurate, 567 ft. 6in. It is interesting, and at the same time may serve to convey a closer idea of the great height of the tower, to compare it with some of the highest spires in existence. The Eiffel Tower of Paris claims to be the highest structure in the world, reaching 984 feet above the earth, while the Cathedral of Cologne, in Germany, probably came next, with its spire 511 feet high but if Cologne Cathedral were reared at New Brighton its apex would still be more than 50 feet below the top of the Tower, and even the famous Blackpool Tower, with its 518 feet 9 inches, would be, so to speak, a head shorter than the local erection. Other English buildings of great height are the Salisbury Cathedral, 404 feet; St. Paul's, London, 365 feet; Norwich Catedral, 315 feet; Lincoln Cathedral, 300 feet; Ely Cathedral, 270 feet; and Canterbury Cathedral, 235 feet. It will be seen, therefore, that the New Brighton Tower is legitimately entitled to boast as the highest structure in the United Kingdom.


Accessed 8th May 2018

New Brighton Tower and sports ground


Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 16 May 1919


In the early hours yesterday morning a fire was discovered in the grandstand of the Athletic Grounds of the New Brighton Tower Company. The fire spread rapidly, and the efforts the local fire brigade unavailing, the place being totally destroyed. The adjoining buildings, including the menagerie, were saved. football match between some Boys had been the previous evening, and thought match carelessly thrown away was the cause of the conflagration. The damage, which estimated at several thousand pounds, covered insurance.


Accessed 8th May 2018


Warrington Guardian - Wednesday 30 September 1903


The third annual challenge musical eisteddfod promoted by the New Brighton Tower Company was held on Saturday afternoon and evening In the Tower Theatre, which on both occasions was crowded. The afternoon programme was opened with quartet eontest, the test piece being Pinsati's “In the hoar of softened splendour,” and the prise of £3 ss. was awarded to Mr. Bull jok and party, who came from the Pottery district. For the best rendering of the baritone aslo, Revenge " .Hatton), Hr. John Edwards, of Rhos, was awarded 2a., and a similar prize was secured by Hiss Alice Hogbes. of Birkenhead. in an exceptionally floe soprano contest, the selected solo beiog *• Hesr ye, Israel ” tMendelssohn). In the male voice contest, in which six choirs took part, the first prise being 225 and the Tower challenge cap and the second prise £5 and a silver medal lo tha conductor,the test piece was Protheroe’s '* The Britons.” The competition resulted in the victory of the Southport Vocal Union, conducted by Hr. J. C- Clarke, second position beiog awarded the holders of the up, the Manchester Orpheus Prise Glee Society, conducted by Mr. W. Neebftt The other competing choirs were the fit. Helens Hale Voice, Talke and District MaWVoioe, Wigan Harmonic and, Warriagtoo Male Voice (eondaetcd|by Mr. S. Halsallj. The great attraction io the evening was the chief choral competition, for mixed v uere. in which the test pieces were O Father whore Almighty power ” (Handel and Gently comes the breath of evening '* i laalaw)) Aa first prise £35 was offered in addition to the Tower silver challenge ahield, held since last year by the fit. Helens United Choir; and there was a second premium of £lO. with a silver medal to the conductor. Out of four entrants the following three competed :—St, Helena Choir (Mr. Harry Berrey, conductor.', Talke and District Prise Choir (Mr. J. Whewall,, and Waeofawr Choir (Hr. Henry J. Roberts)- The first prise wss awarded to and the to fit. Helens No award wae made for recitations. There were 45 entrants for the tenor aolo competition, and the prise was awarded to Mr. Fred Jones. Stoke-on-Trent. The contralto solo competition was won Miss Josephine Williams (Llangefni) and the tenor and bass duet by Mr. Gutyn Bifl< and Ur. A. Brotben Jones, The adjudicators were Dr. Coward Mr. Harry Evans (Dowlais). and John Williams 'Carnarvon.', for music, and Mr. J. J. Hewson for recitations.


Accessed 8th May 2018