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Statutory Address:

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Northampton (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
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This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 24/11/2011

SP 76 SW 725/15/10021

NORTHAMPTON TOWER SQUARE Express Lift Tower (Formerly listed under Weedon Road) II

Lift testing tower. Commissioned 1978, built 1980-2 by Stimpson and Walton for the Express Lift Company Limited; Michael Barclay Partnership engineers. Reinforced concrete, the lower 90m constructed with a separate outer skin formed by continuous slip pour (in 3 weeks). Internal shaft walls and upper parts jump formed concrete. Concrete raft foundations. 127m in height, tapering from 14.6m at the bottom to 8.4m at the top, circular to reduced wind resistance with piercing at the top to further lower this. Inside are 3 rectilinear shafts arranged on three sides of a square. The high speed lift shaft runs the full height of the tower and determined its height, and is for testing lifts at speeds of up to 7 metres per second and is the shaft where faults are most regl11arly simulated. The tallest shaft contains a permanent service lift and gives access to a laboratory above the fast lift. The third and lowest shaft contains shafts (one above the other) for testing hydraulic lifts, medium speed lifts, and has 2 training shafts. There are further engineers' rooms at the base of the tower, one used as an exhibition room, and a rooftop observation room. There are two staircases, one the full height of the building. A smaller space at the base of the tower is used by the British Standards Agency for its own independent testing; its presence is the result of partial government funding for the tower. Both exterior and interior simply finished. The upper part of the tower has a distinctive jagged shape with pierced openings and bracings to reduce wind resistance. Glazed observation room at top. Inside there is a contrast in finishes between the smooth outer skin and more textured jump formed surfaces. Included as a unique structure. This is the only lift testing tower in Britain and one of only two in Europe. There is a small (60m) tower in France. The building is important, too, as a demonstration of the importance of the lift technology to modern tall building construction. It is also a significant local landmark.

Listing NGR: SP7371160583


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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 19 Jul 2005
Reference: IOE01/14549/01
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Roger Ashley. Source Historic England Archive
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