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of Coronation Street, Blackpool
1896 'BLACKPOOL'S GIGANTIC WHEEL. Although, not complete in every particular, the gigantic wheel at Blackpool was formally opened on Saturday. The last four cars were placed in position during the morning. At four o'clock in the afternoon, Mrs. Pearson, wife of one of the directors of the proprietary company, broke a bottle of wine against one section of the periphery, and the directors were then taken as the first passengers. The wheel, which was designed by Mr. Cecil Booth, has been constructed and carried through by the same engineer who was responsible for the one at Earl's Court. Whilst slightly smaller than the wheel which kept a London holiday crowd suspended for several hours in mid-air, this structure has the financial advantage of carrying more people at any one time, and of revolving at about three times the speed. Its diameter is 200 feet, with a periphery 10ft. deep, and, following the principle of bicycle wheel, has stout steel hawsers for spokes. The axle, which is a solid steel forging, 40ft. 8in. long, and 26in. in diameter, is supported by eight columns, each 3ft- square, the two sections of four columns embedded in 11 feet of concrete. The total weight the structure is about 800 tons, and under the superintendence of Mr. Booth the work has been finished without fatality in about eight months. Speaking to a large crowd at the opening ceremony, Mr. W. B. Bassett, the contractor and erector, said that, after building the Earl's Court wheel, he anticipated everything would be plain sailing at Blackpool. But in consequence of being continually harassed by legal proceedings, he had now to admit it had been the toughest job he had ever gone through. Mr. Naysmith, the consulting engineer, testified to the thoroughness of design and the thorough safety of the wheel, and the conclusion of the speech-making, a number of guests made the circular trip. The wheel will be open to the public to-day.'