Express Lift TowerEdit profile
The National Lift Tower (previously called The Express Lift Tower) is a lift testing tower built by the Express Lift Company off the Weedon Road in Northampton, England. The structure was commissioned in 1978 with construction commencing in 1980, and was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 12 November 1982.
Designed by architect Maurice Walton of Stimpson and Walton, the tower is 127.45 metres (418.1 feet) tall, 14.6 m (47.9 ft) in diameter at the base and tapers to 8.5 m (27.9 ft) at the top. The only lift testing tower in Britain, it was granted Grade II listed building status on 30 October 1997, at the time making it the youngest listed building in the UK.
In January 1997, the tower fell out of use after Express Lifts was taken over by Otis and subsequently closed. In 1999, the tower and surrounding land was sold to Wilcon Homes for development.
It is the only such tower in the UK, and one of only two in Europe.
The building is now privately owned and has been re-named the National Lift Tower. Following extensive renovation and repairs, the tower was re-opened for business in October 2009. The tower is used by lift companies for research, development, testing and marketing. As well as being a resource for the lift industry, the building is also available to companies requiring tall vertical spaces, for example companies wishing to test working-at-height safety devices.
There are six lift shafts of varying heights and speeds, including a high speed shaft with a travel of 100 metres and a speed of 4 metres per second.
The tower's renovation was officially completed in July 2010. The owners of the tower have announced plans to allow people to Freefall off the top. Additional building work is ongoing, including a reception, café and conference centre with a 100 seat auditorium.