Blackpool Tower has won a civil engineering award – more than 120 years after it was built.
The honour was handed out by the Institution of Civil Engineers at its North West Annual Awards dinner in Carlisle on Friday night
The Institution of Civil Engineers holds annual awards in every region and devolved nation of the UK to celebrate the best civil engineering – but this year, for the first time, the ICE North West Annual Awards included a Heritage Award category, to celebrate the best of classic civil engineering from around North West England and the Isle of Man.
Chris Hudson, Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Lancashire Branch, said: “Blackpool Promenade itself is a fantastic showcase of civil engineering old and new – the piers, the sea defences, the tramway – and they’re all amazing works of engineering in their own ways, but Blackpool Tower literally stands tall. In fact it’s 518 feet nine inches of monument to civil engineering genius.”
Darrell Matthews, North West Regional Director of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “The Blackpool Tower is possibly the most instantly-recognisable work of civil engineering in the UK.
“It was a really interesting nomination because civil engineering is usually associated with highly practical things like railways and bridges, power stations and water supplies, whereas Blackpool Tower is all about having fun. But there’s no doubting the engineering skill that went into designing and building it, so it’s a very worthy winner.”
There were 13 entries for the first ever North West Civil Engineering Heritage Award, which included Preston’s 124-year-old Albert Edward Dock and the Old Tram Bridge site which dates from 1803, both built by some of Britain’s most notable civil engineers.
Other entries included the Ballure Bridge and the Stevenson family lighthouses in the Isle of Man; Manchester Victoria Station; the Transporter Bridge in Warrington, Cheshire; the Woolston Eyes Footbridge, also in Warrington and believed to be the oldest unaltered bridge of its type in England; Thomas Telford’s Nantwich Aqueduct in Cheshire; John Rennie’s 1797 Lune Aqueduct in Lancaster; the Hodbarrow sea defences in Millom, Cumbria; the 200-year-old Wigan Flight of 23 locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal; and a historic bus shelter in Blackpool.
Other winners at the ICE North West Annual Awards were the Manchester Victoria Station redevelopment, which won the Large Project Award; the Ballure Bridge restoration in Ramsey, Isle of Man, which won the Medium Project Award; the restoration of Transport for Greater Manchester’s Rochdale Station Underpass, which won the Small Project Award. In addition the Community Award went to a water quality improvement scheme in Ulverston, Cumbria, and MWH Global won a newly-introduced Diversity Award intended to encourage inclusiveness and diversity in the civil engineering and construction sector.