It’s above you…

From Williamson Square behind the Playhouse

I was in Liverpool today and it struck me that wherever you go in the city centre the Radio City Tower (also known as St John’s Beacon) always seems to be above you looking down.

Side enterance to St John’s Market

St. John’s Beacon was built as a ventilation shaft for St. John’s Market in Clayton Square in Liverpool city centre. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1969.

From Clayton Square

It is 452 feet tall and it is the second tallest free-standing structure in Liverpool as the 40 storey Beetham West Tower is seven feet taller but it is 121 feet higher than the third placed Anglican Cathedral.  It is apparently the 32nd tallest structure in the United Kingdom.

From the old George Henry Lees buildings

When built originally there was a revolving restaurant near the top of the tower, the facade and floor of the restaurant revolved around the concrete shaft. The roof of restaurant was used as an observation platform for visitors.

From Marks and Spencers building just off Church Street

The original restaurant closed in 1977 over health and safety concerns. It re-opened as a space-themed restaurant in 1983, but closed once again due to lack of business. After this the observation deck and the restaurant remained closed and the tower lay empty and derelict.

Reflection in Millenium House on Whitechapel

The tower was refurbished in 1999 at a cost of £5 million and it reopened as the Radio City Tower in August 2000.  Radio City 96.7 (and Magic 1548 and City Talk) are Liverpool’s commercial radio stations. The outdoor observation deck which had been on the roof of the original restaurant was converted into a second floor.  This now holds offices and conference rooms for the radio station. The studios are on the lower floor that used to be the restaurant. The original revolving structure and machinery were left intact during the refurbishment but they have now been locked in place so that the platform will now no longer revolve.

The tower peeping out between buildings on the Old Haymarket

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