Lego Darwen Tower
Building a scale model of Darwen Tower at £1 per brickthumbnail view
Darwen Rotary set itself the task of raising £25,000 for charity by replicating the original famous landmark of Darwen Jubilee Tower.
The Tower which can be seen over a wide area, was erected in between June 1897 and September 1798 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The club decided to mark the occasion of our present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, exceeding Victoria’s reign by building a replica of the original in LEGO©.
This consists of approximately 25,000 bricks which were sold for £1 each. The cost of the design and the bricks had been covered by Darwen Rotary and three other local charities, so all the funds collected were for charitable purposes.
The model was built inside Darwen Market and Rotarians were on hand to add bricks on Fridays and Staturdays.
Local charities had been invited to obtain official sponsor
forms and to get sponsors. The charity keeps 85% of the funds they collect
and donates 15% to the Darwen Rotary Charity Fund.
There was a limited edition model version that cost £52.50 plus postage and package. These have now all been sold.
12th December 2015 -This is one of the more tricky bits as Lego works on rectangles not octagons. The inner columns contain hinges and lock into the base but the outer parts simply slide into holes in the inners. They will only be braced when the arches are added later.
19th December 2015 - The structure of the outer tower section is beginning to emerge.
8th January 2016 Darwen MP Jake Berry visited the Rotary stall at the town's market to support their drive to raise £25,000 for charity by replicationg the Jubilee Tower in Logo bricks.
He said "The Rotary Club do a fantastic job of supporting many locaal charities and causes in and around Darwen. I'd encourage everyone to pop in to Darwen Market and purchase a brick".
Highfield Cubs have used the Tower to gain sponsorship for their visit to the Centenial Cub Jamboree at Brownsea Island. They raise donations for 360 bricks and came to the Market to inspect the Logo Tower.
6th May 2016 To allow the main shield to be easily seen we have rotated the model 90° as it will be exactly opposite the ground floor entry door.
September 10th- One year of building and 10,849 bricks in place.
October 2016 - Due to the closure of the Darwen Three Day Market and the relocation of traders into the main Market Hall and Annex, our space has been greatly reduced. The unit that we were previously using will become a café and the build area for the tower has been greatly reduced.
Our old area
Our new area
reduced the base to one level and added castors to enable it to be turned
regularly so the public can see the progress of building in more detail.
However, the increase in foot-fall through the Market Annex has more than compensated for this inconvenience. We hope this will encourage even more people to buy a brick. We are grateful to Darwen Market for their continued support of this project.
2nd December 2016 We have now started to build the upper tower panels. Because of the spacing of the windows up the internal spiral staircase, the size of each additional section varies between three and 9 bricks tall. This will seem an uneven build until we get to the top balcony level. The first unit added today is 7 bricks high and contains 67 bricks.
9th December 2016 St. Georges Scouts & Guides used sponsorship of the tower to raise funds for their group. The 300 bricks sponsored have been used mostly in the upper tower entry arch which contains 279 bricks. This was added today together with the adjacent wall section
24th December 2016 – We finish the year on a high with over £13,000 raised to date. We will be adding several more set of bricks in the New Year.
We say a fond farewell to Gwen Sangster, the Market Manager, who is retiring at the end of the month. She has been a great supporter of the project and we will all miss her, but wish her every happiness in her well-earned retirement.
3rd February 2017 - Steady progress on the upper tower with over 13,300 bricks now in place.
24th February 2017 - The last of the model towers have now been sold. That means that there are only 250 editions in the world. They have been sent as far as Sigapore and the USA and some will become collectors items.
17th March 2017 - Making steady progress and the upper tower is becoming recognisable. Over the next few weeks we will be adding more windows, each takes 177 bricks to build.
24th March 2017 - The world seems to have gone mad this last two weeks. Since we sold the last of the limited-edition tower models, we have been inundated with requests from all over the World. People are offering up to £500 for pristine, unopened kits. If we had some to sell at these inflated prices, we could have made a lot for our local charities and good causes. A lesson for any club thinking of doing their own version of the Lego© Tower. Collectors often have very deep pockets.
15th April 2017 - The first of the cross-bracing beams is now in place locking panel 6 into the central column. Over the next few weeks we will add the beams for panels 2, 4 and 8 to further strengthen the tower.
Due to the restriction of the design of Lego©, there can be no bracing for odd numbered panels and these will only be fully tied in when the next floor is added. Lego works on right angles and we have problems with an octagonal tower.20th May 2017 - Thanks to two large donations we have added over 250 bricks this week.
8th June 2017 - District Governor Malcolm Baldwin visited the market and added a section to the tower which has progressed noticably over the past few weeks.
28th June 2017 - A workman employed to erect a sign for the café managed to wreck parts of the Tower. Looks like he tried to move it by pulling on the outer columns. There is no proof that this was a terror
related incident or that he was employed by ISIS.
The building team took about 1½ hours to repair the damage.
30th June 2017- Two generous donations sponsoring the main shields on the tower
Greg & Patricia Debrowski of Ainsworth’s Funeral Services gave £160 to celebrate 160 years of business in Darwen.
David Livesey of Woods Green Grocers also donated £160.
14th July 2017 - Due to changes in the Market we have been relocated into the main market hall. Our grateful thanks to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council for their continued support.
We will miss the annex as we had got to know the stallholders very well. We wish Dino good luck with the additional table space he has rented in our former spot outside his café. He has been very patient with us blocking people’s view of his establishment.
Our new stall has more space and is on the main route through the market so should attract more foot-fall. Hopefully we will benefit by an increase in donations. There is also space for our photo area when we have special events at the market like the 1940s day on Saturday 12th August.
28th July 2017 – The first of the top panel
connectors is in place joining walls 3 & 4. Up to this point odd numbered walls had no bracing as Lego only works on
right-angles with bracing beams half way up the even walls. The top of wall 4 is
open as there is a removable false wall section that is on the original plans, to allow access to the void behind the metal staircase
at the top of the tower. This was never actually built into the tower, but it is an interesting feature.
5th August 2017 - We will be moving again this week as a stallholder has been found for our prime spot in the market. We will be in a larger area with access from all sides. It can’t be a bad move from our point of view as we should be secure for the rest of the year. Also, good to see the market hall starting to fill up again. There have been a number of stallholders retiring over the last few months, resulting in lots of vacant stalls. The more varied stalls in the market, the better the footfall should be and that can be no bad thing for us.
26th August 2017 – We are now up to the upper shield wall this is the floor level for the second floor.
We have also got hold of the various inscriptions on the lower shield wall and added those to the model.
There are 6 small shields but only three have inscriptions. One reads “This tower was restored by public subscription June 1972 Councillor Dr. HW Lees Mayor”. The second “Commemorating the start of the building of Darwen Tower 1897 – 1997” and the third “Commemorating the granting of public access to Darwen Moor 1896 – 1996”. Two of the other shields are blank and the last is very badly eroded but probably should also be blank.
The North facing pediment (sponsored by Woods Green Grocers) has a duplicate of the shield on the South side but is badly eroded. It is flanked by two tablets giving details of the building of the tower. We have added these to the model but the print size is so small to fit the space that most people will not be able to read much of it.
The left hand tablet reads:-
Was erected (and a sum of £650
devoted in aid of the
nursing association) out of the
public subscriptions raised
to commemorate the
of the reign of
Foundation laid June 22nd 1897
by Alexander Carus Esq., J.P., Mayor
Opened September 24th 1898 by
The Rev. William Arthur Duckworth, M.A.
Lord of the Manor
Charles Philip Huntington Esc., J.P., Mayor
The Right hand reads
Chairman ALEXANDER CARUS, Esq., JP, Mayor
Vice Chairman ALDERMAN JAMES COCKER
J.W. Gillibrand JP Robert Shorrock
Capt. Rawlinson Alfred Cooper
T.W.A. Forrest D.J. Shackleton
John H. Wraith, J.P. Richard Holden
Jos. J. Riley, J.P., C.C, Heman Coulthurst
W. Walmsley, J.P. Armena Coulthurst
Henry D. Ashton G. Pickup Holden
Fred. G. Hindle Thomas Whalley
Harold Y.L. Smith Enoch Stockfield
CHARLES COSTEKER Town Clerk
R.W. SMITH SAVILLE, G.E. Borough Engineer
D. LLOYD JAMES Assistant Secretary
RICHARD J WHALLEY Builder
11th November 2017 - We have added the top floor section and are now able to start on the battlements and the dome.
We have abandoned any thought of building the dome separately and then using a drone to drop it onto the tower as was done by helicopter on the Darwen Tower in January 2012. (see video on our club home page). This would not be practicable in our current site in the market due to lack of headroom.
26th November 2017 - We are running the Santa Grotto next to our stall in Darwen Market. Santa will be there each Saturday from 10:00 until 14:30. Parents/guardians can choose to have their children photo’d with Santa and/or receive a gift. We charge £1.00 for a photo. £2.00 for a gift and £3.00 for both a gift and photo. As well as producing a glossy print within seconds, we will also email a copy of the photo if the adults leave us an email address.
9th December 2017 -Today we received a generous donation from the Friends of Darwen Library as part of the profits from their coffee morning last week. We have now installed the first layer of the dome within the battlements on the top of the Tower. Only 2,627 bricks to go.
22nd December 2017 – 2,434 bricks to go. We have started on the third layer of the dome walls. The next layer will be the windows, so the overall effect should soon become more obvious. It has been a busy period manning both the Lego Tower and Santa’s Grotto in the market. Fortunately, both were next to each other so that slightly eased the workload.
26th January 2018 - 1,909 bricks to go. The first two of the dome windows are now in place and we can see the finishing line. Work has started upgrading stalls on the other side of the market. Once that is finished they may move us so as to upgrade our current ares to a state traders would and to move in.
9th March 2018 - Today we received a donation of £100 from Proctors Estate Agents.
27th April 2018 - We are now on the last leg with just 716 bricks to go. One remaining battlement section, the last of the windows and the two false sections to add before we finish the dome and add the weather cock to top of the tower.
4th May 2018 - Last of the dome windows is now in place.
16th May 2018 - Harry Todd, a local man with muscular dystrophy undertook a sponsored walk in aid of St Cuthbert’s Church. Starting at the church he walked up to the Jubilee Tower than down to Tockholes. A remarkable achievement for someone with his condition. He used our sponsorship forms for his mission so will donate 15% to the Rotary Tower. He raised £578.00 of which 85% is for the church funds. As with all such sponsorship, we credit the full total against bricks, so the target of £25,000 has been passed.
J&A Kay Ltd. are making a Perspex© dome to cover the tower and it will be displayed within the market. Collection tins will be installed with any additional donations going towards named charities. The first of which will be the Friends of Darwen Tower who need to raise £100,000.00 for much needed restoration work on the Jubilee Tower.
We will be organising a topping-out ceremony then the weather vain will be added.
26th June 2018 - We have moved the Tower back into the Market Annex and the Perpex cover has been added.
The background has been reconfigured to give a compact area that should be the permanent home of the Tower. We have re-installed the collecting boxes and will encourage donations towards named local charities. The first will be the fund to restore the original Jubilee Tower on Darwen Moor which needs much repair to bring it up to standard as a listed building.
November 2019 - We have moved again to an empty unit in the Market Annex. This is a better home and should give more room for displays.