Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside landmarks, buildings, streets and events from bygone days with how they look today.

This week we move a little way up the coast with a historic image of Blackpool Tower – a familiar landmark for thousands of Liverpool holidaymakers down the years.

The date is August 1893 and the tower has only been partially completed, reaching about half of its final 518ft height. Yet it still dominates the busy beach-front.

Inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the structure was designed by Lancashire architects James Maxwell and Charles Tuke. Both died before the tower opened to the public on May 14th 1894.

It cost sixpence to ride to the top of the tower which caught fire in 1897. The blaze could be seen 50 miles away.

As the tower’s steelwork had not been painted properly after construction, most of the frame had to be replaced from 1920 to 1924.

Blackpool Tower under construction. Circa 1892 - 1894
Blackpool Tower lit red white and blue on April 9th 2021 following the death of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.
During World War II, the crow’s nest was removed to allow the tower to be used as a Royal Air Force radar station. The lifts and winding gear were renewed in 1992.

A Grade I listed building, Blackpool Tower remains the 120th tallest free-standing tower in the world. Its famous ballroom, part of the complex beneath the tower, annually hosts the peak-time BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing.

Our modern image, from April this year, shows the tower lit in red, white and blue after the death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

*Unmissable wartime images from Liverpool and the North West are included in Clive Hardy’s latest hardback book The Home Front – Britain 1939-45.

It’s available for £14.99 from inostalgia.co.uk or the order hotline 01928 503777 – or get three books for 25 per cent off in iNostalgia’s Summer special promotion.