Watkin’s Tower : When London wanted to build its own Eiffel Tower

At its opening at the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower knew an immediate success, despite all the protests and doubts during its construction. A triumph that gave ideas to our neighbors, including the English, who in 1890 held an open competition to build their own Eiffel Tower.

“Anything Paris can do, London can do bigger!”

While the Eiffel Tower, at that time the tallest tower in the world, had a height of 324 meters, the project was to build a 358 meters hight, also made in iron. An idea launched by the British Member of Parliament Sir Edward Watkin, who proclaimed “Anything Paris can do, London can do bigger!”. He even proposed the project to Gustave Eiffel ! What the French refused, telling that if he designed the tower, the French people “would not think me so good a Frenchman as I hope I am.”

The contest received 68 drawings, many of them looking like the Eiffel Tower. The winner was the number 37. Works began in 1893. But by lack of money, the “Watkins Folly” was never completed, and destroyed in 1907.

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Today is instead of this tower the  Wembley Stadium.

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projet watkins tower london

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Useful Informations

Faced with the success of the Eiffel Tower in 1889, the British decided to build their own tower.


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