South Pennines History and Traditions

Pikes and Towers of the South Pennines

Darwen Tower, Darwen – Built-in 1898 to commemorate both the jubilee of Queen Victoria and the victory of the local people to win access to the moor. This octagonal tower with its two viewing platforms looks at a distance like a space rocket. In later years the structure became dilapidated, but in the early 1970s, it was restored.

Hartshead Pike, Mossley – The present Pike was built in 1863, probably built by mill workers to give them some work during the cotton famine. The tall circular tower with a conical roof overlooks the plain of Manchester. In January 1928 it was damaged by the storm, after which funds were raised to repair it to its present state.

Lund Tower, Above Cowling – It is believed it was built by James Lund of Malsis Hall, but why or when he built is a mystery. A viewing platform at the top is freely accessible by a winding staircase.

Nab End Tower, Longwood (Overlooking Colne Valley) – This tower was erected by local working folk, as a novelty for the Longwood "Thump" (Feast) of 1861. No architects were employed or plan made. The young men of the neighborhood simply purloined stones from disused delfs nearby. Neighbours provided them with money for drinks. The work was supervised by a local mason George Hellawell, who was deaf and dumb. His initials and the date are carved on a stone set into the tower.

Peels Monument, Ramsbottom – The tower, first opened 9 September 1852, was built to commemorate Sir Robert Peel, famous as the founder of the police force. He was born in nearby Bury in 1788. During the 1939-45 war, the tower was used as a lookout post. It was closed to the public in 1947 but restored and re-opened in 1985.

Rivington Pike, near Horwich – The oldest Tower in the South Pennines, this was built for John Andrews in 1733. The tower is 5m square and 6m high and stands about 360m above sea level. It once had a wooden roof, windows, and fireplace. In 1902 Liverpool corporation proposed to demolish it. The tower is now protected as a listed building.

Standsfield Tower, Above Blacko – This circular rough stone tower was built by a local grocer, Jonathan Stansfield. It is said he hoped to see into Ribblesdale, but it was never built high enough. One night in 1964 it was mysteriously whitewashed by person/persons unknown.

Stoodley Pike Monument, Mankinholes (near Hebden Bridge) – Situated where it can be seen throughout the upper Calder Valley, the original pike was built to commemorate the surrender of Paris, March 1814. It fell when it was struck by lightning on the very moment war was declared on Russia in 1854. The Pike was rebuilt in 1856. A dark internal winding staircase gives access to the viewing platform.

Victoria Tower (Jubilee Tower), Huddersfield -Situated on the site of a Norman keep, which in turn was built on a Brigantian hill fort. The tower was built in 1898 to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. When the foundations were dug out in 1897, the dungeons of the old keep were found. Unfortunately, they were filled in with rubble and now lie lost under several tons of heavy masonry. The tower standing almost 100 feet high, was built by public conscription and is now open on bank holidays and summer weekends.

Wainwrights Tower, Halifax – Built by John Edwards Wainwright in 1898. Built allegedly to overlook a neighbors estate, The tower is in fact a dye works chimney, which was given a staircase and viewing turrets.
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