When London Tried to Outdo the Eiffel Tower

After Gustave Eiffel turned down an opportunity to build a landmark tower for London, railway magnate Sir Edward Watkin held a world-wide competition to design the icon instead. "Stevie SW9", at Brixton Buzz, explores some of the spectacular entries.

"Back in the late Victorian period,  railway magnate Sir Edward Watkin decided what London really needed was a massive tower to eclipse the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris," says Stevie. After Eiffel declined the opportunity, "Watkin opened up the design to public competition, and thanks to the rather excellent Public Domain Review it’s now possible to view the kind of weird and wonderful landmarks designers had in mind for London – including some entries from south Londoners."

"No less than 68 designs were submitted, many showing off the full reign of  imagination, ambition and, in some cases, sheer madness of the white heat of the Victorian age," he writes. 

Construction actually began on the winning design submitted by Stewart, MacLaren and Dunn in 1892, however technical and financial problems stunted its growth, and Watkin’s death in 1901 "[put] an end to the dream."

Full Story: Gasp at the south London entries for the 1890 Great Tower Of London competition


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