Posts Tagged ‘Shot Tower’
|Date||1 October 2011|
|Location||Boughton, Chester||SJ 41462 66658; 53.19375°N, 2.87763°W|
At 168 ft (51.2 m) high, the Grade II* listed shot tower is Chester’s tallest structure and the oldest of the UK’s three surviving shot towers. Located at the former leadworks on the side of the Shropshire Union Canal in the Boughton district of the city, the tower was built in 1799 by Walkers, Maltby and Company. This firm was later known as Walkers, Parker and Company, which became part of Associated Lead Manufacturers in 1924, with the latter in turn later becoming part of the Calder Group.
The tower has a 30 ft (9.1 m) diameter base and its diameter at the top is 20 ft (6.1 m), and it has an internal, peripheral spiral staircase. This was superseded by the external, steel-framed lift shaft, added in 1971. Lead shot was manufactured using the process developed by Bristolian William Watts, in which lead is poured through a sieve at the top of the tower, forms into spherical droplets during its descent, and is caught in a water bath at the bottom. In its early history, the tower produced musket shot for forces serving in the Napoleonic Wars.
The Calder Group closed the leadworks down in 2001 and most of its buildings were demolished in the following years to make way for new housing developments in the canal-side location. Since then there have been various plans put forward for the redevelopment of the tower itself, which received its listed status in 1981.
At the end of 2007, Property Regeneration Group was granted planning permission and announced that redevelopment of the site was underway. The scheme was to comprise 33 one- and two-bedroom apartments — including an element of ‘affordable housing’ — together with 27,000 sq ft of commercial space for offices, bars and restaurants and other purposes. Most of the remaining buildings around the tower were to be demolished and the tower itself would figure as the main entrance to the upper floor flats in a four-storey extension.
In mid-2008, advising engineers for the project, Chester-based consultancy Gifford stated that they themselves would move into new offices in the complex once construction work was finished. At the time, it was said that work at the site would start at the end of the summer and was scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2009.
In November 2008 planning permission was granted for revisions to the proposals in which changes had been made to suit the requirements of the principal potential commercial occupier. The level of affordable housing was also reduced from the original seven dwellings down to four.
Property Regeneration went into administration in 2009.
In July 2011 new plans were announced by Liverpool-based Neptune Developments. These again feature housing, bars and restaurants and shops, but also include a heritage aspect and a new bridge over the canal, linking the complex with the proposed Waitrose supermarket nearby. An affordable housing element is to be provided by Chester and District Housing Trust, and a planning application is expected to be submitted in the autumn.
|Date||30 May 2011|
|Location||Cheese Lane, Bristol||ST 59425 72929; 51.45387°N, 2.58533°W|
This 43 m reinforced concrete tower was used to manufacture lead shot for sport ammunition using a process patented by William Watts in 1782. Molten lead was poured through a colander at the top of the tower and was collected in a tank of cold water at the bottom, the drops having formed into spheres and hardened during the intervening descent. Arsenic or antimony (1-2%) was added to the lead in the crucible, as the resulting alloy formed globules more readily than pure lead.
Watts, a plumber by trade, lived directly opposite St Mary Redcliffe church. After some initial experimentation Watts converted an existing late 17th century house on Redcliff Hill by building a tower on the roof. Production from this shot-house was a great success and Watts later sold the business and the patent. Ultimately, however, he was declared bankrupt, losing his fortune through disastrous property speculation ventures. The business changed owners serveral times and in 1868 was aquired by Sheldon, Bush and Patent Shot Company.
The original shot tower was demolished in 1968 when Redcliff Hill road was widened. The replacement tower in Cheese Lane was built at the same time and was in operation until the late 1980s. The business was sold to British Lead Mills in 1990 and later to a subsidiary of Shell UK. In 2002 the site was acquired by developers Hyland Properties. From 1990 onwards various proposals for redevelopment were submitted, including an initial one, for which outline permission was granted, of demolishing the tower and building a five-storey office block. However, the tower was listed (Grade II) in 1995. It is one of only three surviving shot towers in England.
At the end of 2005 Hyland completed its scheme, creating a three-storey, glass-fronted office complex overlooking the Floating Harbour and converting the tower to a ‘boardroom in the sky’. The new office accommodation, known as Vertigo, currently has 2,228 sq ft of office space on the top floor left to let.