Wainhouse Tower is a landmark follyOrnamental structure with no practical purpose, built to enhance a designed garden or landscape. and Grade II* listed building in King Cross, Halifax, West Yorkshire.[a]Wainhouse Tower is considered a folly because it was never used for its original purpose, but during the Second World War it was used as an observation post. It was built between 1871 and 1875 and is 275 feet (84 m) tall. The structure has a square base, and its shaft is octagonal in plan. Its elaborate top, reached after 403 steps, has a bracketed gallery and two-stage lantern, the upper stage open with ogee cap. It was intended as a curiosity and a very prominent landmark.
John Edward Wainhouse inherited the Washer Lane Dyeworks in 1854. Smoke pollution was a problem in the town, and the dyeworks was part of the problem, so Wainhouse decided to build a beautiful chimney connected to the dyeworks by an underground flue. Architect Isaac Booth started its construction using local stone in 1871, but left the project following a dispute.[b]The dispute was between Wainhouse and Sir Henry Edward, who complained that the tower would be tall enough to overlook his nearby estate at Pye Nest. Richard Dugdale took his place, taking on responsibility for the elaborate upper section. The tower was completed in September 1875, at a cost of £15,000, equivalent to about £1.75 million as at 2021.[c]Calculated using the GDP deflator.
After Wainhouse’s death the tower, which had never been used as a chimney, was offered for sale by auction. It had several owners until 1918, when the Halifax Courier organised fundraising to enable its purchase by Halifax Corporation; ownership passed to the corporation in May 1919. As a result of the reorganisation of Local Government in 1974, ownership of Wainhouse Tower passed to Calderdale Council.
The building was closed to the public in 2008 to allow for extensive renovations.
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