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Thursday, February 24, 2005 15:04 GMT
Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower
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Spinnaker Tower
The Spinnaker Tower
tinyThe Spinnaker Tower on Portsmouth's Harbourside dominates the landscape of one of the world's most famous ports.

Click here for the latest webcam image of the Spinnaker Tower
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FACTS
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The Tower is the centrepiece of the 86 million Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour project which is supported by 38 million from the Millennium Commission.

The Tower was built by contractor John Mowlem.
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Built on Gunwharf, near Portsmouth Harbour Station, the Spinnaker Tower offers spectacular views across the harbour for an expected 700,000 visitors a year.

Spinnaker Tower
The Spinnaker Tower under construction

It is the centrepiece of the Millennium Project for the Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour. Since the idea was first unveiled in the mid-90s, the tower has had its fair share of controversy. Read more at BBC News Online.

Construction of the tower fell way behind schedule and the last piece of the structure was finally fitted on 17th January 2005 - five years later than originally planned.

The 'top cone' spire which is 27 metres tall and weighs 14 tonnes, was lifted up by crane, bringing the tower to its full height of 170 metres - that's two and a half times the size of Nelson's Column in London.

Spire is fitted into place
The spire is manoeuvred into place

From the top you can see as far as the Isle of Wight, the Hampshire and West Sussex coastlines, as well as the local landmarks like The Naval Base, HMS Warrior, Southsea Common, Old Portsmouth and the rest of the city sprawling out below.

Have a look out from the top of the Tower with our 360 Degree Panoramic Photo, Photo Gallery or view the live webcam.
Webcam image courtesy: Portsmouthand.co.uk

The design is intended to represent billowing sails and the city's strong maritime traditions and was the result of extensive public consultations.


Steel bows
The giant steel 'bows' in the factory
The giant 'Cruciform' is the most crucial part of the structure and is shaped like a giant steel snowflake - connecting the steelwork sails to the concrete shafts.

The 105 tonne cruciform has been constructed in Derbyshire by iron and steel firm Butterleys who have been fashioning metal since 1790, and even built the deck beams on HMS Warrior - now residing in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard.

The massive cruciform was transported overnight to Portsmouth on 18th November 2003 to be slowly inched into place.

videoBBC South's Freddy Rostand reports from Butterely's in Derbyshire (56k) 


Don't look down! The view from the top of the Spinnaker Tower

In 2003, BBC South's Dominic Blake took stomach-churning trip up the tower to see the the breathtaking views over Portsmouth Harbour. Click here to watch his report for BBC South Today.

Work on the tower is still underway but the contractors and the City Council expect the attraction to be fully completed by the end of May 2005.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external webcams and websites.

 
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