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The Space Tower, Blackpool
Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK
associated engineer
Intamin AG
date  September 1974 - May 1975
era  Modern  |  category  Amusement Structure  |  reference  SD305330
ICE reference number  HEW 1737
A gyro observation tower originally erected at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the Space Tower was some 48m high and a landmark in the seaside resort. In 1993, it was moved down the coast to Morecambe Frontierland and renamed the 'Polo Tower' after its sponsor. It was demolished in 2004.
The cylindrical tower was founded on a reinforced concrete base, 10m in diameter and 3.5m deep. This foundation was designed to counteract wind loadings of up to 20 tonnes horizontally and a 500 tonne-m bending moment, and a total vertical of structure plus passengers of 70 tonnes.
The tower itself was constructed of riveted steel tubes, 2m in diameter. Four vertical guides and external lifting cables raised and lowered the observation passenger car, which slowly rotated as it moved to the top and revolved a few times before descending. The lift motor room was 4.3m high and located at the top of the tower, with a flagpole and an anemometer above.
The Space Tower took just nine months to construct and was opened by the Mayor of Blackpool. Passengers entered at ground level through a 'base station' that encircled the foot of the tower, designed by Building Design Partnership, who also put together a time capsule of contemporary artefacts that was laid in the foundation in September 1974.
The annular observation car was 8.4m in diameter overall, tapering somewhat on the lower end to improve groundwards visibility for the passengers, who were seated facing outwards. A guided commentary played throughout the ride. The exit route led directly to an amusement arcade (designed by Thomas Blackburn & Sons) that straddled Watson Road on a bridge deck.
The superstructure, observation car and machinery were all designed by the Swiss firm Intamin AG. The project was commissioned by Blackpool Pleasure Beach Ltd and constructed using direct labour.
In 1993, the company decided to move the Space Tower to its other amusement park, Morecambe Frontierland, to make way for a new rollercoaster, Pepsi Max The Big One. In Morecambe, it received a new colour scheme and new name.
Along with most installations at Morecambe, the tower fell into disuse at the beginning of the 2000s. It is scheduled for demolition but was still standing in 2016.
Research: PD, ECPK
"The Blackpool Pleasure Beach Story" by S. Palmer, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool
reference sources   CEH North

The Space Tower, Blackpool