Blackpool Tower opened on 14th May 1894, with the aquarium existing as a stand a lone attraction from the late 1870's. The tower is 518ft 9inches tall, with the walk of faith at 380ft from street level. The Tower alone contains 2,493 tons of steel and 93 tons of cast iron. The building at the base contains 985 tons of steel and 259 tons of cast iron.
The Tower has a viewing platform at 380ft above the promenade and is reached by a lift or if you are a maintanance worker by 536 steps!
Not for the feint hearted is the 'Walk of Faith' glass floor, a two inch clear panel that looks straight down to the Promenade below.
The 'Walk of Faith' glass floor panel was placed at the Tower top in 1998. The glass floor weighs half a tonne and is made up of two sheets of laminated glass. The 'Walk of Faith' can withstand the weight equivalent to five baby elephants.
To reach the top viewing platform at approximately 450ft you can walk up 2 flights of stairs.
The present Ballroom was designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1899. The Ballroom floor measures 120ft by 102ft. It comprises 30,602 separate blocks of mahogany, oak and walnut. The first Wurlitzer organ was installed in the Ballroom in 1929. It was replaced in 1935 with one to Reginald Dixon's specification. The first organ went to the Empress Ballroom at the Winter Gardens.
During the day visit the Ballroom to hear one of the famous organs being played. The Tower Ballroom is the traditional home of the mighty Wurlitzer Organ which rises up through the stage and complemented by the 3 Deck Wersi - the world's most advanced Blackpool Tower Ballroom - The Wurlitzer Organorgan, it includes over 600 sounds in the software, is touch screen sensitive and can create the sound of a complete orchestra.
The Tower Circus is positioned at the base of the tower, between its four legs. The circus first opened to the public on 14 May 1894 and has not missed a season since.
The present interior was designed by Frank Matcham and was completed in 1900.
The circus ring can be lowered into a pool of water and holds 42,000 gallons at a depth of up to 4 ft 6 inches, which allows for Grand Finales with Dancing Fountains. The Tower Circus is one of four left in the world that can do this.
During more than a century of entertainment, the world's greatest circus stars have paraded across its ring. The clown Charlie Cairoli appeared at the tower for 39 years. Britain's best-known ringmaster Norman Barrett worked the ring for 25 years.
Animals appeared in the circus until 1990.
It was planned to close the famous circus at the end of the 1990 season and replace it with an animatronic attraction. Public opinion and the fact the animatronics were not ready meant that the circus continued.
Today, the circus is produced and directed by Hungarian Laci Endresz. A live band (sometimes accompanied by Mooky the Clown) provides all the music for the show, often dynamically syncing with the performers' movements. The circus band play a variety of different songs, usually Latin for the acts. In the winter the circus stages a pantomime instead of the regular show.
The oldest part of the building is the aquarium which was part of Dr Cockers' Menagarie and Aquarium in the 1870s. It was kept open to earn revenue while the tower building went up around it. The aquarium was modelled on the limestone caverns in Derbyshire. It houses 57 different species of fresh water and salt water fish and the largest tank holds 32,000 litres of salt water.
The aquarium closed permanently at the end of the 2010 season and will be completely remodelled to make way for a new "Dungeons" attraction. This is part of the investment by the Merlin Group, who took over the operation of the Tower at the end of the 2010 season on behalf of new owners Blackpool Council