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Wainhouse Tower, Halifax

1143 of 1169 nominations


Wainhouse Tower, Halifax

Is this an icon?


Wainhouse Tower, Halifax

John Edward Wainhouse was a true English eccentric with a passion for beauty and a talent for feuding. It has been suggested that his glorious folly, Wainhouse Tower or the “Tower of Spite”, was built so high (a staggering 275ft) in order to spy on his arch enemy, Sir Henry Edwards, who had boasted that nobody could achieve a view of his private property. Originally intended to carry the smoke from Washer Lane Dye Works out of the valley, the tower lost its practical purpose when the factory was sold and the new owner didn’t want to pay for its completion. If it couldn’t be functional, Wainhouse wanted it to be beautiful and (after firing the first architect) devised an extraordinarily elaborate design with his new architect, Richard Swarbrick Dugdale. The tower was completed in 1875 and on a very few weekends a year it is still possible to climb the 403 steps inside the tower and enjoy the magnificent view over Halifax from the balcony.

Photo © Paul M Thompson / Alamy


Your comments

It is a lasting monument to this country's industrial heritage, the hard work of the woollen industry employees and the philanthropy of its rich bosses who cared even then about the environment and the conditions in which their poor employees lived. All admirable English traits represented in one tower.


My Grandparents live a few streets away from the tower and for the last 30 years it has played a big part in my life, being taken up the tower as a child by my grandma, playing below the tower, seeing it lit up at Christmas, and now when I visit my grandparents who are in their late eighties it holds many lovely memories. When catching the bus from Halifax to my grandparents from school they?d say "catch the washer lane bus", and sure enough me and my sister got there safely. When I read that Wainhouse tower was nominated as an icon it made me feel very proud to have so many wonderful memories and I hope it is included and I?m sure their are many people who will share my views.
Racheal Portess



I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye