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(Some stone column)   Closed for 130 years, a public observation tower still standing tall in central London   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, observatory, tallest structures, Trafalgar Square, the City of London, widows and orphans, ICA, Duchess of York, Whitehall  
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17643 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Oct 2012 at 12:27 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-10-30 12:09:59 PM  
3 votes:
In 1844, a tall observation tower was opened to the public near to Trafalgar Square giving people a chance to look down on Pall Mall

I hear it's a smokin' place to hang out.
2012-10-30 03:28:52 PM  
2 votes:

Barricaded Gunman: FTFA: It was even designed to make climbing easier by reversing the spiral of the staircase to anti-clockwise...

Huh? How does that work?

Most people in the northern hemisphere are right handed, so a spiral staircase that turns to the left (counter-clockwise) as it goes up puts the right leg on the outside of the turn. When climbing in a spiral, the outside leg has further to go and therefore does more work than the inside leg. Having the stronger leg on the outside makes climbing the stairs easier.

That's one of the reasons staircases in medieval turrets go the other way, so that attackers climbing up are more tired as they go up. The other reason, of course, is to bind their sword arm with the inside wall of the staircase, while the defender above them can conversely use the inside wall as a protection while their sword arm swings around the curve.

The reverse is true in the southern hemisphere, naturally, since the proportions of left-handed people in the southern hemisphere is reversed from the northern hemisphere. The natives of Spain learned this to their detriment in the early 8th century Umayyad conquest - the naturally left-handed Moors were not inconvenienced by the clockwise-turned towers in the Visigothic fortifications, which was one of the contributing factors to the easy conquest of Toledo after the Battle of Guadalete.

Of course, the northern backlash against left-handed peoples also contributed to the deteriation of sub-equatorial societies. Colonialism and conquest by right-hand-dominant nations led to forced right-handed instruction on the populations, along with the other tools of imperialism like Christianity and intelligence-reducing drugs - opium and vaccinations coming to mind. You've all heard stories about left-handed children who had their left hand tied behind their back and/or whipped until they learned to perform tasks right-handed. Just another example of the imperialist mindset.  There's also the superstition against turning in circles counterclockwise - or "widdershins" - that plays right along with the superstition against left-handed - or "sinister" - people.

To bring it back to the tower in TFA, however, you'll find that this superstition isn't entirely without merit. The stairs within go "widdershins" up the tower, which no doubt is a contribution to the numerous suicides off the tower in the 1840s. Whether those suicides had some occult or ritual element involved, or if they were simply an effect of the sinister design, is unknown, but Fredreich, Duke of York, for who the tower is named, had numerous occult connections related to his upbringing in Germany near Brocken, the notorious pagan ritual site. Also, although dates vary, construction of the column began on April 30, 1831 - Walpurgisnacht, a day celebrated as the witch's sabbath in northern Europe.
2012-10-30 12:29:46 PM  
2 votes:
Most of the public observation is done with cameras these days.
2012-10-30 07:12:07 PM  
1 vote:

Honest Bender: Who knew history could be so boring?

Ah, well, if you enjoyed that article...

It sounds like the Aberdeenshire granite would have been from Rubislaw quarry.

Much of Aberdeen's buildings were built from Rubislaw granite, as well as many world-famous buildings, including the terrace of the houses of parliament.

It was, at one time, the largest man-made hole in Europe.

Slaxl: Incidentally what's a good image hosting site that doesn't shrink pictures, like photobucket does?

imgur. Don't even need to create an account for it.
2012-10-30 02:45:13 PM  
1 vote:

jopy666: uh, not a very secret tower. People go up there all the time.
Never understand why you yanks think that just because the general public doesnt get unlimited access to something, that means no one has gone up there in hundreds of years.

Newsflash bozo... the story was written by someone from the UK. He's not a yank.
2012-10-30 01:50:57 PM  
1 vote:

Thelyphthoric: Barricaded Gunman: FTFA: It was even designed to make climbing easier by reversing the spiral of the staircase to anti-clockwise...

Huh? How does that work?

Clever, but obviously it's worse for left handed people.

Building counter clockwise creates the northern hemisphere funnel effect with regards to falling down one built this way.

You would tumble down the stairs in a clockwise direction which would increase the tumble speed, think of a flat spin, it's tough to recover from once started.

Water funnels in a clockwise motion in the north hemisphere, FYI.

2012-10-30 12:54:32 PM  
1 vote:
If I see a tower, I tend to assume there's some way to the top. Who would build something you can't?

It's more surprising that they haven't leased mobile antenna space around the railing, to be honest.
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