Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Darwen Tower in Danger


DARWEN Tower needs urgent repair work, local historian Harold Heys has revealed.
He and a small group of Tower enthusiasts have been monitoring the state of the Grade II-Listed Tower in the past few weeks and they commissioned a professional survey to check it thoroughly.  
A second survey by engineering professionals was conducted a few days ago.
Major work will be necessary on the access to the top viewing platform.
The concrete landing and iron supports below the metal steps are in very poor condition and parts of it are in danger of breaking off and falling down the spiral stone steps.
Doors and windows are missing, some of the sandstone is cracked and little of the original cement pointing remains. It all needs repointing and the foundations need looking at.
Rainwater has been swilling down the inside stairs and there are cracks between the heavy steps around the base. Blackburn with Darwen Council have been kept fully in the picture and there has been some work recently on clearing the drains.
The tower was built in 1897-98 to mark the Freeing of the Moors and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
There have been two major renovations – in 1947 and some 25 years later after an appeal led by Cllr. Dr Bill Lees. Renovation work now is expected to take two years and is likely to cost a lot of money.
The WEC Group spent about £30,000 replacing the dome after it blew off a few years ago. The track to the Tower from Bold Venture is also in a poor state.
• The photos, taken by the investigation team, show (1) the ornate lintel above the entrance to the first viewing platform cracked and much of the pointing missing and (2) some of the gaps between the heavy steps around the base. Who knows what lies in the darkness below?