Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Thursday, 30 May 2013

In the Arm-y


Tuesday morning dawned very differently to the lovely weekend weather we had enjoyed.

Back to boating with our waterproofs on, such a shame when we have two young crew members with us.  But they were not put off and we set off, leaving behind the main canal system, down the Rothersthorpe flight of 17 locks along the Northampton Arm into the centre of Northampton town.


Stretching up through the skyline is the ‘Northampton Lighthouse’. In reality it is the National Lift Tower, built by the Express Lift Company as a lift testing tower.

The structure wP1090300as commissioned in 1978 with construction commencing in 1980, and was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 12 November 1982.

Designed by architect Maurice Walton of Stimpson and Walton, the tower is 127.45 metres (418.1 feet) tall, 14.6 m (47.9 ft) in diameter at the base and tapers to 8.5 m (27.9 ft) at the top. The only lift testing tower in Britain, it was granted Grade II listed building status on 30 October 1997, at the time making it the youngest listed building in the UK.

In January 1997, the tower fell out of use after Express Lifts was taken over by Otis and subsequently closed. In 1999, the tower and surrounding land was sold to Wilcon Homes for development.

It is the only such tower in the UK, and one of only two in Europe.


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An aaahhh moment as we approached the town centre.  The girls were so excited to see this little family, so was I.  They stayed close for photos, but we had nothing to feed them with,we were armed only with windlasses ready to work the last lock.

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And so we arrived in Northampton, wet and weary, passing the Carlsberg brewery, and old warehouse building and tying up on the town moorings, convenient for Morrisons, and Beckett’s Park.  So now the larder is stocked up with the girls’ favourite foods, Jumble has been walked several times and the fire is lit, drying out jeans, socks and shoes!

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