Hello you beautiful people, how is everyone? Good, I hope 🤞 I have to admit that I’ve been feeling rather low mood-wise, from suffering with my shoulder still and not being able to move it as much as I want, to the daily updates of new restrictions being put into place, meaning I can’t see my sister who lives 115 miles away has upset me quite a bit.
To take my mind off of things, I decided to have a look on the Internet at top attractions in different places around the U.K, and one of the attractions I came across was the Spinnaker Tower, seeing pictures of the outside of the tower drew me in and intrigued me, so I thought it might be a cool blog post to share with all of you!
The Spinnaker Tower
Emirates Spinnaker Tower stands at 170 metres tall, offering breath-taking 23 mile views over Portsmouth Harbor, the city, the Solent, the South Downs and the Isle of Wight. The iconic destination boasts a high speed lift and three sky-high viewing decks. Venture across the thrilling glass ‘Sky Walk’ at 100 metres above sea level; discover stories behind the surrounding sites with informative touch screen displays; try vertigo-inducing virtual reality, ‘Altitude‘, breath in the view from the open air ‘Sky Garden’; relax in The Clouds with a coffee, a glass of bubbly or a decadent High Tea; and enjoy delicious meals made with locally sourced ingredients in the Waterfront Café. Thrill seekers can book on to one of the Tower’s popular 100 metre abseil days.
Its shape was chosen by Portsmouth residents from a selection. The tower, designed by local firm HGP Architects and engineering consultants Scott Wilson and built by Mowlem, reflects Portsmouth’s maritime history through its being modeled and named after a spinnaker, a type of sail that balloons outward. The tower was opened on 18 October 2005.
The tower is owned by Portsmouth City Council, but operationally it is managed by Continuum Leading Attractions, a cultural attractions group based in York. Continuum also runs five other visitor attractions across the country. Following a commercial sponsorship deal with Dubai-based Emirates airline, the tower was renamed in July 2015.
The tower, at a height of 560 feet (170 m), is 2 1⁄2 times as high as Nelson’s Column, making it one of the tallest accessible structures in the United Kingdom outside London. The tower is visible around Portsmouth, changing the horizon of the area. It can be seen from the Isle of Wight and the Manhood Peninsula.
The tower represents sails billowing in the wind, a design accomplished using two large, white, sweeping metal arcs, which give the tower its spinnaker sail design. The steel-work was fabricated by Butterley Engineering. At the top is a triple observation deck, providing a 360° view of the city of Portsmouth, the Langstone and Portsmouth harbors, and a viewing distance of 37 kilometres (23 mi). The highest of the three observation platforms, the Sky Deck, has only a wire mesh roof, so visitors are open to the elements. The windows extend above head height, so it is not possible to get a view unobstructed by glass. A glass floor is located on the first viewing deck at 100 metres above sea level.
A prestigious Millennium Project, the proposal for the “Millennium Tower” was approved by the Millennium Commission in September 1995. Later that year, Portsmouth City Council published a development brief outlining the broad requirements. The concept was to create a public and educational facility to celebrate the new Millennium. Public exhibitions and a special edition of Portsmouth City Council’s magazine, Flagship revealed the three design proposals for the City residents to choose from; the Globe, the Spinnaker and the Triple Tower. 60% of people voted for the Spinnaker Tower hence it became the chosen design, reflecting Portsmouth’s unique maritime heritage.
The overall development project was over budget, with the tower costing £35.6 million alone. Taxpayers were never intended to fund the tower, but Portsmouth City Council eventually contributed £11.1 million towards construction.
In March 2004, Portsmouth Council’s former leader Councillor Leo Madden resigned as leader of the Labour Group on the council after a highly critical report of the council’s handling of the project and its failure to exploit revenue opportunities, such as the Millennium. Barry Smith, the project’s legal advisor, also retired after being suspended on full pay, mostly because of controversy over the contract with the builders, which at one point would have cost the council more to cancel than to complete.
The Tower opened to the public on 18th October 2005. On opening day, the tower’s project manager, David Greenhalgh, and representatives of Mowlem and Maspero were stranded in its malfunctioning external lift (built by Maspero) for an hour and a half. Abseiling engineers were called to rescue them.
Once open, the tower attracted crowds in excess of expectations, with more than 600,000 people visiting it in the first year. It is one of a number of observation towers around the world that have become popular, including Vancouver’s Harbor Center, Toronto’s CN Tower, Blackpool’s Tower, New York City’s One World Trade Center (as well as the original Twin Towers) and Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower.
- The Tower has been a huge success and has received over 2.5 million visitors since opening.
- The high speed internal lift travels at 4 metres per second, taking you to the View Decks in just 30 seconds.
- The concrete used to build the Tower would fill five-and-a-half Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- The Tower is founded on 84 piles, the longest of which runs 50m into the ground – the equivalent of Nelson’s Column.
- The total weight of the Tower exceeds 30,000 tonnes.
- The 27m spire weighs 14 tonnes and was carefully lifted into place by crane.
- 1200 tonnes of structural steel used to form the Tower’s distinctive bows is the equivalent weight of 12 blue whales.
- 115 metres up and in high winds, the Tower can flex approximately 150mm.
- There are 560 steps from the base up to View Deck 3, the Sky Deck.
- Spinnaker Tower hosted one of the regional events for the BBC’s Children in Need events in 2006. This involved the mascot of the event, Pudsey Bear, abseiling down the structure.
- Series 4, Episode 1 of Coach Trip featured contestants spending the day on the tower.
- The reality show Four Weddings featured Spinnaker Tower during an episode; it filmed the wedding ceremony and reception at the tower during Season Two in 2010.
- Blue Peter recorded the 2006 Book of the Year Award inside the tower.
Emirates Spinnaker Tower
Thank you for coming to my blog and for reading today’s post, I hope you enjoy the rest of your week 😃 and I will see you next Wednesday!