Broadway Tower, Worcestershire
Is this just a ‘Folly’ or was it constructed to fulfil a vital role as a ‘Signal Tower’ or Beacon. The Tower was built long before the invention of instant signalling devises. So I like to think it was built of practical reasons…but also like the fun idea of having such a dominant building erected…. just because I could!. You can make up your own minds…. here is the back story of the most likely of theories and its History…
It was built on the whim of Lady Coventry who persuaded her husband the 6th Earl of Coventry to pay for the design and construction… Her home was some 20 miles away from this hill on which the tower was to be built. The hill itself had been a “Beacon Point” for signal fires for several centuries. Lady Coventry was not sure that she would have been able to see such a beacon signal, so two famous names in Landscaping and Architecture were commissioned to construct a Tower.
Capability Brown and James Wyatt collaborated to build Broadway Tower, it was completed in 1798….. and yes, Lady Coventry could gaze upon it from her distant home. . No real surprise as the hill stands at some 1024ft and the tower itself a height of 65ft.
Over the intervening years Broadway Tower has provided a useful function apart from being purely visual and decorative.
In 1822 Sir William Phillipps installed a printing Press from which to publish his catalogues of his large book collections.
This was followed in the 1880’s as a ‘Retreat’ for two famous Artists and Designers, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. The Tower seemed to make a great impression upon them as they went onto to establish the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
Today the Tower is part of a Country Park and is open for visitors to climb to the Tower and enjoy panoramic views over the Cotswolds, the Industrial Midlands, six counties and to the far-off Welsh Hills.
Well worth a visit but as always…..
Please Remember ….
Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other
(C) David Oakes 2020