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The towers and the glory

I read with interest the debate on saving Wembley's twin towers (NCE last week).

There was an earlier tower on the stadium site. It was intended as a rival to the successful Eiffel Tower. In 1889 a design competition was launched by the promoter, The Tower Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Railway.

A wooded parkland near Wembley was chosen as the site for the tower. Known as Wembley Park, it was intended to be a country attraction for Londoners, who would use the Metropolitan Railway to reach it. The final design resembled the Eiffel Tower, but was about 60m higher at 350m and had a more slender base. Construction started and by 1896 visitors to Wembley Park were able to travel up to the first platform and view the countryside.

But construction fell behind schedule and the London clay could not support the weight of the partly-built tower. There was also local opposition from those not welcoming the intrusion into rural surroundings.

Raising funds was difficult and construction halted. The tower platform remained open until 1902, by which time the lifts and machinery had become unsafe, mainly through neglect. The tower was demolished by 1907.

Peter Monger (M), petermonger@cwcom.net

Investment opportunity

I was saddened to discover that the proposed national stadium is unlikely to incorporate Wembley's existing towers.

I would agree with Sir Bobby Charlton, and, as a football fan myself, reinforce the nostalgic importance of preserving the towers.

It is well known that Wembley is a 'world icon'.

To prevent such an idea being frowned on in the future for financial reasons may I suggest we find a naive American industrialist and sell him a piece of 'genuine British history' for a few million quid!

Mark Bramley (G), mark.bramley@hyder-con.co.uk

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