06
Nov

2013

A Brief History: New Brighton Cable Car

Post by Nick Chu

At the Gondola Project, we love learning about historical cable car systems and this past week, we were fortunate enough to have a reader send us some links and pictures of a cable lift in the seaside resort town of New Brighton, England.

New Brighton Tower chair lift 1966.

New Brighton Cable Car in 1966. Image by Flickr user Picture Esk.

Cable Car seen in the back. Image from historyofwallasey.co.uk.

Aside from a few pictures and tidbits of info, details about the system are scant. We do, however, know that it connected passengers from the beach to the a motor coach park and was still operational during the 60s.

Based on a visual analysis of the pictures, it appears that the system is somehow integrated, or at least travels over a large, monolithic building.

Unfortunately, as history dictates, it seems that this cable lift was ill-fated from the start.

That large building that it crossed over was known as the Tower Ballroom — a venue capable of fitting 1000 dancing couples.

New Brighton Tower and Tower Ballroom at base. Image from Wikipedia.

This ballroom served as the building base of another attraction, the New Brighton Tower.

This 173m tall tower, which mimicked the Eiffel Tower, opened in 1898 and was the tallest building in Great Britain at that time.

By 1921, due to neglect after World War I, the high-rise was, sadly, dismantled and its metal was sold off.

However, the Tower Ballroom remained intact and was in full use until 1956 when a fire completely gutted out the interior.

After two years of restoration and renovations, the ballroom was fully restored to its former glory.

In fact, the ballroom was a popular venue for the Beatles as they were reported to have played a total of 27 times at this theatre.

Everything was going well, that is, until another fire in 1969 completely destroyed the ballroom, along with the cable car.

But this time around, there was no restoration and the building grounds were replaced with a housing estate.

Tower Ballroom fire. Image from Tony Franks Buckley.

So while this system was purely a toys for tourists and not an urban gondola by any stretch of the imagination, it does serve as a reminder of how nimble and flexible cable technology was — even way back in the 60s!

 

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History / Installations
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