Restoration begins on the iconic Darwen Tower

Works are officially underway to restore and repair the landmark Darwen Tower, as part of the Darwen Town Deal.

Darwen Tower is a Grade 2 listed octagonal Jubilee Tower built in 1898 by public subscription to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Whilst the location of the Tower is what makes it iconic and visible across the whole borough, it also makes it vulnerable too.

Sitting at the top of a hill on Darwen Moors has exposed the Tower to the elements over the years, and work is now required to restore the building to its former glory.

These improvements have been made possible after the Darwen Town Deal Board successfully secured more than £750,000 of Government funding for ‘quick win’ Town Deal projects.

From this, £225,000 has been awarded to restore the Tower, along with £70,000 of local fundraising efforts led by Darwen Rotary and a £10,000 contribution from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

JubbClews, contract administrators, and UK Restoration Services, specialist restoration contractors, have now been selected and the works have officially kicked off – including repairs to the rainwater disposal system, repairs to the deck of the upper observation level, improvements to access and more.

Signage is going up around the site to inform residents and the many visitors to the Tower of the construction and repair works happening, and scaffolding is now in place. The works are due to be completed in October 2021.

A short video is also being created to showcase the restoration works – keep an eye out for it very soon!

This investment in the restoration of Darwen Tower, alongside the re-roofing to the Clock Tower on Darwen Town Hall, completing at the end of July, means there is almost £500,000 worth of improvements to the heritage of Darwen currently underway.

These improvements will ensure that these iconic buildings are conserved and can continue to be enjoyed by many future generations.

Wayne Wild, chair of the Darwen Town Deal Board, said:

It’s fantastic to see these works begin on Darwen’s much-loved landmark.

It’s safe to say that almost every single resident has enjoyed a walk to the Tower and its spectacular views at least once in their lives – and now they can continue to do so for many more years to come.

The building is an important part of our town’s history and the Darwen Deal is really proud to be supporting these works.

These improvements will also help bring visitors to the town – something we’re really focused on as part of the Darwen Deal.

I’m very much looking forward to visiting the restored Jubilee Tower again once the works are complete.

Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said:

Seeing these works begin is a great feeling.

The recent lockdowns have highlighted how valuable our outdoor spaces are, and how important it is to really take care of these local landmarks.

It will be brilliant to see Darwen Tower back in action, restored and continuing to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of our residents.

I’d like to thank the Darwen Rotary and everyone who has donated to the cause, along with the Darwen Town Deal Board, for making this possible.

 Gil Riley, President of the Darwen Rotary, said:

It has been absolutely amazing to see the community rally together to support these works.

Such a huge contribution from residents really shows how much love there is for Darwen Tower across our whole borough – and beyond.

The Tower is an invaluable asset and one we all feel very fortunate to have so close by.

Phil Braithwaite, director of UK Restoration Services, said:

We’re very proud and privileged to be restoring this iconic Tower.

It has a lot of history and we’re thrilled to be adding to that history, keeping the Tower secure for decades to come.

We’ve got a few employees from the area, and nearby, who see the Tower every day and we know just how much it means to the town of Darwen.

It’s a very exciting project and we can’t wait to get stuck in and show it off to the local community in a few months.

Lynda Jubb, Director at JubbClews, said:

Ever since we first inspected the Tower, it has been a dream to see this landmark repaired.  

The Council asked us to design the repairs to showcase both the craft of the orginal builders and the talents of those who conserve our listed buildings.  

JubbClews developed the digital twin 3D models with Bury Associates, to plan the repairs and offer virtual tours while the Tower is closed.  

Structural engineers, Mann Williams, designed a frame to support the top of the Tower, which means the emergency props can be taken away.  

I’m excited to see the work progressing and look forward to sharing more news from the site.  I hope the whole team’s passion for conservation inspires young people to consider a career in heritage.