They say you can see the Welsh hills from the top. I've never seen them and I must have been up there a hundred times. More often than not you are lucky if you can see the Lancashire hills; mist and moorland are seldom parted. But whatever you can or can't see from up there, from down below and from many miles away, it commands your attention. You can see it from the M6 north of Blackburn; you can see it from the centre of Preston; you can see it from the hills above Bury; the hills above Chorley and the hills above Accrington; you can see it in the gaps between houses all over the town: Darwen Tower is a beacon that beckons the eye.
It isn't the first, nor the only such landmark; all sorts of monuments flourish on our Pennine hills. There's the tower on Rivington Pike, the Peel monument near Bury, the Snowden memorial above Colne, the tower on the fells above Abbeystead and, of ancient and unknown origin, the tall structures on Gragareth, Lancashire's highest mountain. This urge to build something on the nearest hill surfaced again in Darwen just over one hundred years ago. On one level it was a gesture of loyalty to a monarch celebrating her sixtieth year on the throne, but on another it was a gesture that struck at the very thing that monarchy is all about: the ownership of land and the power and privileges that go with it.
Reverend William Arthur Duckworth
William Thomas Ashton
Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee
The Opening of the Tower
The Future of the Tower
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