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Wembley Tower - Watkins Folley (overlay)

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Wembley Tower - Watkins Folley (overlay)

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Date Posted:March 13th, 2006
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Description: In 1895 Wembley become home to London's own short lived, Eiffel Tower. During a trip to France in 1889, Sir Edward Watkin, Chairman of the Metropolitan Railway, became greatly impressed with the newly built Eiffel Tower, and wanted to build an even taller tower on land he owned in Wembley Park. Sir Watkin wanted Gustave Eiffel, the engineer behind the Eiffel Tower, to build the Wembley Tower, but he refused so Sir Benjamin Baker, designer of the Forth Bridge in Scotland, was chosen instead. Foundations were laid in 1892 and the builders (who were also in the process of completing work on the Blackpool Tower), started work in June 1893. The first stage was completed in September 1895 and stood at 155 feet high, however the ground was marshy and the foundations had started to move so work stopped. Sir Watkin surrounded his incomplete tower with pleasure gardens featuring sports grounds, tea pagodas, bandstands and a lake. In 1902 the Wembley Tower was declared unsafe and closed to the public, confirming its reputation and nickname 'Watkins Folly'. In 1904 demolition work began, ending with the foundations being blown up in 1907.

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