Tower, New Brighton, Wallasey

Tower and Lake
New Brighton
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

1937 map showing location of park and tower

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.

New Brighton Tower regularly advertised itself as “the highest structure and finest place of amusement in the Kingdom”. A single entrance fee of one shilling (or a ticket for the summer season, costing 10s 6d) was charged for entrance into the grounds, which included the gardens, the athletic grounds, the ballroom and the theatre. An additional charge of sixpence was levied on those who wished to go to the top of the tower. There was a menagerie within the building, containing Nubian lions, Russian wolves (which had eight cubs in 1914), bears in a bear pit, monkeys, elephants, stags, leopards and other animals. There was also an aviary above the ballroom. The Tower Building also contained a shooting gallery and a billiard saloon with five tables.

New Brighton Tower prior to its demolition in 1919. (from Wikimedia Commons).

Under the tower was an octagonal building housing a ball room and theatre. The ‘Tower Ballroom’ was one of the largest in the world and provided a sprung floor and band stage. It was decorated in white and gold and included a balcony to watch the dancers. Next to the ballroom was a billiard saloon and above it were a monkey house, aviary and shooting gallery. The theatre could accommodate 3,500 people and had the largest stage in the world measuring 45 feet wide and 72 feet deep. The grounds around the tower provided numerous other facilities. The Tower Gardens, covering 35 acres, included a Japanese Cafe, Venetian Gondolas, Parisian Tea Garden and outdoor dancing platform. The ‘Old English Fairground’ provided a switchback railway, water chute, lion house and menagerie.

The Tower was illuminated at night with fairy lights, as were the grounds. 30,000 red, white and green around the many pathways. Admission to the grounds was a shilling, which included admission to the Ballroom and Theatre. . . . The Ballroom was one of the largest in the world, with a sprung floor and dance band stage. The orchestra had as many as 60 players. . . It was decorated in white and gold, with the emblems of various Lancashire towns. The Ballroom had a balcony, with seats to watch the dancers below. . . Above the Ballroom there was a Monkey House and Aviary in the Elevator Hall and also a Shooting Gallery.
. . .
The Tower Gardens had much to offer also. The whole area covered 35 acres. There was a large Japanese Cafe at the lakeside, where the real Gondoliers had Venetian Gondolas. There was also a fountain and seal pond in the old quarry, with its rockery. Then there was the Parisian Tea Garden where one could enjoy a cup of tea and watch the pierrots. Situated in the trees was a restaurant called ‘The Rock Point Castle’. At the Promenade end there was an outdoor dancing platform which could hold over a thousand dancers where also the Military Band played.
History of Wallasey

Standing at 567ft, it was the tallest building in the country. Visitors at the time were charged a single entrance fee of one shilling which allowed them to get into the tower grounds, and included a ballroom, theatre, gardens and athletic grounds. However, if guests were brave enough to go up the tower they were charged an additional sixpence for the pleasure. But once at the top, they were rewarded with spectacular views – on clear days, it was possible to see as far as the Isle of Man across the Irish Sea, the Lake District and the Welsh mountains.
“What happened to New Brighton Tower and why was it taken down?”, Liverpool Echo

When the first lift ascended on the morning of 8th September, to the top of the New Brighton tower, on the Cheshire side of Mersey, tho attendant was astonished to see a woman and her 12-year-old daughter walk into the lift for the purpose of descending. The two bad been on the top of the tower since half-past 9 the previous evening. It is customary (says “Lloyd’s Weekly News”) before the descent of the last lift to give an intimation to that effect, to anyone who may be on the tower summit. Apparently the . woman and her daughter did not hear it, and they passed unnoticed when the usual round of inspection was made previous to the final lift going down. Finding themselves unable to make known their plight to others some 600 feet below, they made themselves as comfortable as possible in tho covered-in portion of the tower top. When they were rescued from their position, they took their experience quite philosophically, merely complaining that they had spent a cold, sleepless night, and leaving the tower grounds without even giving their names to the officials.
The Telegraph, 26 October 1909

In 1914, it was closed to the public following the outbreak of the First World War. With closure, lack of maintenance caused the steel superstructure to rust. The tower was eventually taken down between 1919 and 1921. Despite the tower’s removal, its ballroom continued to be used for almost the next 50 years. Many famous acts visited the New Brighton venue including Little Richard The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. . . . The end of the Tower came when it was destroyed by fire on Saturday 5th April 1969, the heroic attempts by the fire brigade who fought the flames for hours was in vain, the walls started to collapse and this magnificent building just died.
Wallasey and the Dutton Family

New Brighton, Cheshire
Stands at the mouth of the Mersey 31 miles north west of Liverpool It has a pier battery and lighthouse and will no doubt soon become a well known watering place Provisions are dear The population numbers 3319
Routes. — By London and North Western Great Northern Midland or Great Western Railways to Liverpool thence by ferry every quarter of an hour
Climate and Season.– The climate is good and the season from June to September.
Beach and Scenery.– The beach is fine hard smooth sand and very safe and the bathing is good vans plentiful The surrounding country undulated
Objects of Interest.– Wallasey Bid Seacombe Ferry the Battery which is open to public are in the vicinity and trips can be made to Liverpool where picture galleries botanical gardens parks St George’s Hall museums & c Eastham 6 miles New Ferry 4 miles Birkenhead Bangor Rhyl the Isle of Man & c by steamer
Amusements.– A band plays on the pier and boating & c can be had and there are Assembly rooms in the Abion road Churches St James and various
“The dictionary of watering places … at home and abroad”, 1883, pp. 72-3

King’s Hall, Belfast

The King’s Hall, Balmoral, Befast.
Ireland’s greatest exhibition hall, biult by the Royal Ulster Agicultural Society.
And opened on 29th May, 1934, by H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester K.G.
Postmarked 1939
Publisher: Hurst & Co

The King’s Hall was a multi-purpose venue located in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The King’s Hall consisted of 6 event venues. The King’s Hall is owned by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) (previously the North East Agricultural Association of Ireland), who moved to the venue in 1896 from their previous showgrounds in Belfast Corporation Markets area.
. . .
The King’s Hall was designed by Leitch and Partners, Glasgow, built in 1933 by J & R Thompson, Belfast and opened by the Duke of Gloucester on 29 May 1934. The King’s Hall was the largest exhibition venue in Northern Ireland and prior to the completion of the Odyssey and the Waterfront Hall, was the only large concert venue in Northern Ireland. It hosted the Balmoral Show, an annual agricultural show with regular attendees in excess of 75,000. The stepped facade of the hall features substantial windows and Art Deco motifs on doors and buttresses. Inside, the functional space is spanned by reinforced concrete arches.

The Kings Hall at the Balmoral Showgrounds was constructed in 1933-34 as a permanent exhibition hall for the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society and was officially opened on 29th May 1934 by H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester, being renamed the ‘King’s Hall’ by the permission of King George V. The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society immediately put the Kings Hall to use for a variety of purposes. In 1936 alone the hall was utilised for a number of exhibitions, evangelical meetings, boxing and wrestling contests and a circus that was held at Christmas. Staples of the annual schedule at the Kings Hall included the Ideal Home Show, motor shows and wedding exhibitions. In later decades the hall would also be used for music concerts; the Beatles famously performed at the Kings Hall on 2nd November 1964. The Kings Hall was put to a very different use during the Second World War when the exhibition hall was requisitioned for the duration of the conflict. The premises at Balmoral were occupied until a few months after the end of hostilities in 1945. The Air Ministry (Ministry of Supply) acquired the site in 1940 and converted the Kings Hall into an aircraft factory for Short Bros. & Harland in order to construct fuselages for Stirling Bombers.
King’s Hall Health and Wellbeing Park

Rowntree Memorial Park, York

Rowntree Memorial Park, York

Google Street View (approximate).

Google Street View overview of park

Rowntree Park opened on the 16th of July 1921, as a gift to the people of York from the Rowntree Family and it was “intended to serve as a perpetual memorial to the members of the Cocoa works staff that fell and suffered in the War”. Rowntree stated he wanted the park to “afford many rest and recreation from the turmoil and stress of life, and bring health and happiness to a large number of young lives”. From that day on, the park was owned and managed by York City Council. The deeds to 17 acres of land were signed in 1919 and the land cost £1,500. The work was funded, supervised and maintained by the Rowntree Village Trust. The building of the park created work for those who had none. The architect, Fredrick Rowntree, added a flood prevention system. The area was drained in 1919, with 19,000 yards of pipes being laid, sluice gates installed and a flood wall at the southern end of the park.
Friends of Rowntree Park

As the city’s first municipal park, it had many things to offer for the people of York. As both a public park and a recreational ground, the park’s designers aimed to encourage the well-being and pleasure of the people. Originally there were formal gardens, a tearoom, bowling greens, an ornamental lake, and even an outdoor swimming pool.
History of York

The Park comprises two bowling-greens, a girls’ hockey-ground, boys’ cricket-ground, a lake (the walk-round which measures about half a mile), a wading-pool and sand-beach for children. There are sunk rose-gardens and a bandstand. The lake, which is fed with the overflow from the wading-pool, is shallow, so as to be free from danger to- children and to skaters in winter. An aerial pump maintains the supply of fresh water to the wading-pool, which is overlooked by a shelter. The Park is entered by a lych gate, within which is a memorial tablet. There are well-appointed.tea-rooms inside the Park.
“Annual Reports of the Medical Officer Of Health, the Inspector Of Nuisances, and the Public Analyst” City of York, 1921

Assizes Court, Manchester

Manchester. Assize Courts.
Postmarked 1905
Publisher: Boots, Nottingham

The Assize Courts was the first civic building to be constructed in Manchester after the town hall on King Street by Francis Goodwin in 1819. The Builder described it as the most important building outside Whitehall. Its design was the result of a competition in 1858 that attracted more than 100 entries. The competition was won by -Alfred Waterhouse whose design beat schemes from other renowned architects such as Thomas Worthington and Edward Walters. Waterhouse designed the building in the Venetian Gothic style; construction began in 1859 and was completed in 1864. The nearby 1862 Strangeways Prison was included in his design as part of the scheme; it is a Grade II listed structure. The building contained exterior sculptures by Thomas Woolner and the firm of O’Shea and Whelan. They depicted lawgivers from history, along with a “drunk woman”, a “good woman”, a scene of the Judgment of Solomon and carvings depicting different punishments throughout history. . . . The courts building was severely damaged in the Manchester Blitz in 1940 and 1941. It was said that everything was destroyed except the Great Ducie Street facade and the judges’ lodgings. Some war-damaged buildings in the city were repaired, but Manchester Assize Courts was demolished in 1957, soon after the assize court abolition. Some of the sculptures were preserved and incorporated into the new Crown Court building on Crown Square.

“The Builder”, Vol 17, issue 847; 30 April 1859

The fantastical skyline of the Assize Courts, the clever interior planning, the quality of finish and the rich detail in applied arts all made it an immediate hit. It was huge too, with the Great Hall a sensation that attracted international travel. Heavily damaged in World War II this stunning building was demolished while other shattered buildings such as the Free Trade Hall were restored and re-opened. Why that happened is explored in the film [on link]. There was city trickery at play.
Confidentials: Manchester

Interior of court (from Wikimedia Commons, cropped & edited)
Interior of court (from Wikimedia Commons, cropped & edited)

The interior of the great hall is most successful in its proportions. It has an open timber c hammer-beam’ roof, and a large pointed window with geometrical tracery, at each end. The doorways leading hence to the corridors and adjoining offices are studied with great care; and indeed the same may be said of every feature in the hall, from its inlaid pavement to the pendant gasaliers. The Civil Court and the Criminal Court (each capable of holding about 800 people) are respectively to the north-east and south-east of the hall. They are identical in size and arrangement, and are provided with the usual retiring rooms for judges and juries,

The barristers’ library is a picturesque and effective apartment, with a roof following the outline of a pointed arch, and divided into panels. The barristers’ corridor is lighted by a skylight, supported at intervals by arched ribs cusped and slightly decorated with colour. This, together with many other features in the building, represents with more or less success an attempt to invest modern structural requirements with ain artistic character which shall be Mediaeval in motive if not in fact. The trying conditions of this union cannot be too constantly kept in view by critics, who, applying an antiquarian test to such works as this at Manchester, proceed to condemn the association of features for which there is no actual precedent in old and genuine Gothic.
“A History of the Gothic Revival”, Charles L. Eastlake on the Victorian Web

High Street, Dumfries

Dumfries. Fountain, High Street.
Postmarked 1913
Publisher: Woolstone Bros, London

Google Street View (in front of fountain).

The town centre fountain sits at the junction of English Street and the High Street. Made of iron and built in 1882. Constructed on the site of an earlier fountain built in 1850 to celebrate the first piped water supply in the town. The original fountain was moved to the grounds at the front of Nithbank Hospital. The 1882 fountain was sculpted and cast by the Smith (Sun) Foundry in Glasgow. The foundry closed in 1899 and this remains as one of the few larger cast iron features the foundry created.
Old Dumfries Wiki

Argyle Lodging, Stirling

Courtyard, Argyle House, Stirling
Dated 1908
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

Argyll’s Lodging is the most complete surviving example of a seventeenth century town house in Scotland. It can be found in the upper part of Stirling, just below Stirling Castle’s Esplanade. The house sits behind a screen wall and comprises a collection of buildings built in two phases and in three ranges around an enclosed courtyard. Conversion and extension of an existing sixteenth century tower house began in the 1630s for Sir William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling, who had previously resided at Menstrie Castle. Further enlargement was undertaken in the 1670s for the 9th Earl of Argyll. Argyll’s Lodging shows considerable French influence. The turrets sited at each corner of the house overlooking the courtyard have conical roofs typical of French provincial townhouses. Visitors enter the complex through an archway from the road into the courtyard. This is much as it would have been in the 1670s.
Undiscovered Scotland

Argyll’s Lodging — View from the street, “The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth century”, David MacGibbon, 1887

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Old Curiosity Shop, London

The Old Curiosity Shop
Publlisher: Stengel & Co

Google Street View.

Dating from the 16th century, its sloping roof, overhanging second floor, and uneven Tudor gabling mark it as one of London’s oldest shops. Dwarfed and out of place amidst one of the world’s most prestigious universities, the little creaking shop, constructed from salvaged ship wood, survived not only the Great Fire of London in 1666, but the devastation of the Blitz. Living in neighboring Bloomsbury, Charles Dickens visited the quaint shop on a number of occasions. Although the name was added after the novel was released, it is thought to have become the inspiration for his 1841 novel, The Old Curiosity Shop. The Old Curiosity Shop of Dickens’s imagination was the home of a virtuous teenage orphan, Nell Trent, and her grandfather. The tragic tale took place in “one of those receptacles for old and curious things which seem to crouch in odd corners of this town and to hide their musty treasures from the public eye in jealousy and distrust.”
Atlas Obscura

The idea that Dickens was inspired by this very shop in Holborn is untrue – although he lived for many years in the area and knew of the building. In The Old Curiosity Shop, the author himself writes “the old house had been long ago pulled down, and a fine broad road was in its place”. The actual shop which inspired Dickens’ tale is widely believed to be either 10 Orange Street (behind the National Gallery) or 24 Fetter Lane (off Fleet Street).Nearly 30 years after book was published, the shop’s proprietor decided to cash in on Dickens’ popularity. A bookbinder and bookseller named Tesseyman (d.1877) renamed it The Old Curiosity Shop, proudly declaring it was the very one ‘immortalised by Charles Dickens’. It’s been claimed Tesseyman was given the idea by Dickens’ illustrator Clayton Kyd Clarke (1857-1937) following the author’s death in 1870. Tesseyman’s brother confirmed to the Pall Mall Gazette in 1884 that the Curiosity Shop sign had been painted on the façade “for purely business purposes, as likely to attract custom to his shop, he being a dealer in books, paintings, old china, and so on”.
Memoirs of a Metro Girl

Indeed, it is so old that it is now a listed building and is widely considered to be London’s oldest shop, despite there being no evidence of its actually having been a shop prior to the Victorian era. And one thing that becomes more than apparent when studying the building’s history is that it is a true miracle that the building has survived the march of time and progress, given that, at various times in its long existence, there have been numerous occasions when its imminent demise has been announced and it has come within a hair’s breadth of being demolished. . . . The general consensus is that the buildings now known as “The Old Curiosity Shop” were built in the 1500s as two tiny dwellings. The land on which they stood was later gifted to Charles II’s mistress, Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth (1649 – 1734), for whom Portsmouth Street is named, and the two tiny dwellings were knocked into one larger dwelling and turned into a dairy.
London Walking Tours

High Street, Wooler, Northumberland

High Street, Wooler
c.1910, with an older image
Publisher: Valentine

Google Street View.

Situated only 6 miles east from the foot of Cheviot is the town of Wooler, an ancient market town and parish. It is 46 miles north-northwest of Newcastle and only 16 miles from Berwick, in Glendale, well known for its picturesque scenery of rolling hills and glens. Wooler is the only market town in Glendale, which was one of the Northumberland baronies created after the Norman conquest. . . . The town was burned down in 1722, and rebuilt to a better standard. By 1821 Wooler contained a population of 1830 people and 315 houses, and held weekly markets for the sale of grains, especially corn. There were also two annual markets held for the sale of sheep, horses and cattle. The surrounding area was at that time mostly agricultural, as it is today, with sheep farming carrying out an important role.
Northumberland Communities

All that remains of the old fountain is a commemoration stone which reads: ‘ This fountain was erected by public subscription in grateful acknowledgement of the many services rendered to this town and neighbourhood by the late William Wightman’. . . . William Wightman was clerk to the forerunner of Glendale Council and he was largely responsible for the laying on a proper water supply to Wooler in the late 1850’s, thus providing clean, safe drinking water to its inhabitants.
“Wooler fountain plan abandoned”, Northumberland Gazette