Fans of heritage at Alton Towers will be heartened to see that the resort have applied for planning permission to restore the Gothic Prospect Tower.
The planning application was listed by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council on 24/12/14, and is for:
“Listed building consent to comprise repair of the masonry and cast iron structure; the specialist removal of modern paint finishes and re-decoration (inside & out); overhauling & replacing timber doors & windows; renewing the lead work capping/flashing; repairing the ground floor level paved area; and the reinstatement of the decorative cast iron balcony railings too first and second floor”
The nearly 200 year old iron tower is located near the Forbidden Valley Skyride station, on the edge of the garden valley. Originally the Tower included intricate paintwork, gold leaf and stained glass, but had fallen into disrepair over the last 30 years.
The Tower was first constructed in 1824, and was designed by English architect Robert Abraham. Although it is often referred to as the ‘Chinese Temple’ due to its pagoda-like appearance; the structure is in fact Gothic in design. Its intricate and colourful iron-work was cast at the local Britannia Foundry, in Derby; whilst its window frames were originally adorned with golf-leaf. The Tower was a favourite of Charles Talbot, the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury, who instructed craftsmen to replicate a miniature version of it in the entrance hall of his house.
The Tower was for decades a visitor attraction, offering stunning views across the garden valley and over to the Towers themselves. Recent years have seen it suffer neglect though, and it has been closed completely for a number of years due to concerns surrounding its structural integrity.
The planned restoration is almost a complete overhaul, including repairs to the cast-iron structure and masonry, returning the original paintwork, new timber doors, and restoring the stained-glass windows. Submitted documents hint that the original gold-leaf window frames could make a return.
Thanks to member Danny for spotting the application, and to community member BarryZola for the past image of the Tower.