The National Lift Tower, Northampton, England
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National Lift Tower

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A close up of the top of the tower showing one of the added support channels. The hoist pulley for the new rig is on the right.
A view 'through' the top of the tower showing the beams that support te modified rig. The old hoist shaft is in the centre with the new hoist positioned close to the rim. The hoist pulleys can be seen above the shafts. The new supporting steels are also clearly defined.
A general view of the development on the site showing the radiating arms of the rig almost reaching the perimeter of the tower. The hoist shaft has had the pulleys attached to the top. The hopper has been assembled to the top of the mixer and the sand and gravel compounds have been made ready.
The hoist winch placed on its concrete base.
Few breaks were possible during the slipforming process but here all is quite - but only for a few minutes.
Sand and gravel at the ready. The framework for one of the smaller doors can be seen beyond the pile of sand.
To form a solid base for the sand and gravel piles on what had to become permanent mud and water - hence the reflections.
On the other side of it the first reinforcing bars are placed in position
The tower at about the half-way stage slipforming being essentially a continuous process meant that the work was very quick.
The second hoist to be placed in the engineers lift shaft and the temporary access is being cast in the shaft base to take the hoist winch cable diverter unit.
One of the equipment doorways with most of the wooden former removed. It reveals one of the rods which a hydraulic jack travels to lift the rig. Just inside the door you can see the drums that carry the guide cable.
Close up of the outer shuttering showing how the plates overlap. As the diameter reduces one plate will slide inside the other. The outer one will be removed when the overlap is complete.
Looking up the tube of the tower showing the rigging modified to take the jumpforming equipment which is suspended on the many wire ropes hanging from the top. The picture was taken from the jumpforming rig at about 50 metres.
A striking view looking towards the top along the line of emergencys ladder.
Ironwork from the rig brought to ground for sorting and dispatching to the contractors store.
Operating one of the ratchet handles at 90 metres height.
The installation of the 's' Gearless Machine that will provide power for the high speed lift.
An interesting view of the tower during construction. The picture was taken from Briar Hill, through a stack of roofing timbers on a building site.
Nearing the 15 metre mark, the mark at which the surface treatment began is clearly shown.
He was just posing for the cameraman.
The portable hoist platform level with the rig. The portable hoist was used only for one day.
Neaing the 15 metre mark now as men operate the ratchets again. The emergency ladder clings to the wall - at this stage of consruction it was the only access to the rig. Note that the window above the equipment entrance is askew. This is believed to be caused by the shuttering catching the window former as the rig lifted.
A striking picture of the tower during its construction.
Builders on one of the tower levels controlling the feed of concrete into the shuttering.
The bottom half of the equipment doorways formed in the shuttering. The top half is to be added as the shuttering rises when pouring starts. The lower shaft of the lifting jacks can be seen between the vertical supports.
A BBC cameraman films inside the tower.
A close up of part of the rig framework and outer shuttering. The horizontal cables are to help keep the rig compact, while the angled cables are to help prevent the rig turning.
Some of the framework of the top platform of the rigging showing the winches that will reduce the diameter of the shuttering.
Mr Jon Emony, resident engineer for the Michael Barclay Partnership, Show a party of visitors around the site. The third outer working platform has now been fitted. At the top right a workmen makes adjusment to the canvas and netting.
A panoramic view from across the meadows near to Duston Mill showing how the tower dominates the skyline. The old tower can just be determined to the left of the new one.
Looking up the inside of the tower through the top platform of the partially finished jumpforming rig.
Temporary equipment entrance to the engineers lift shaft to facilitate the construction of the second hoist that will be used in conjunction with the casting of the floors and walls.
One of the guide cable channels for the new hoist being raised into position during the assembly of the bottom landing framework.
The first metre of concrete was 'shovelled' into the shuttering direct from the dumper truck.
A load of gravel being deliverd while a cement tanker reverses up to the hopper.
Cement lorry reversed up to the hopper. The crane which is to be used for hoisting the conrete etc. to the rig for the first 15 metres of consruction is waiting behind the tanker.
Connecting the hose of the concrete tanker to the hopper.
Another shovelfull of concrete for the beginning of the shafts.
Shovelling the concrete into the shuttering to form the first metre of the lift shafts is nearly completed.
More concrete being tipped between the shuttering while a workmen stands by the 'agitator'.
A mass of shuttering, wooden formers, reinforcing steels and lifting cables as everything is made ready for the first pour of the concrete for the shafts.
With slipforming finished the 'covered way' between mixer and tower has been taken down giving clear access to the tower. A load of ironwork from the dismantled 'slip-form' rig has been brought to the ground.
This picture of the suspended cage shows some of the window formers in the tower wall. Recesses for 'keying in' the floors are also very prominent.
Personal carrying tractor ? A novel use for the load plate that was taken from the central hoist cage when it was dismantled.
The cage used during the slipforming looks up to the top of the tower.
The wooden former for the small door put into place within the shuttering.
A new tank for the hot water is erected alongside the cement hopper the hot water is required to help the concrete set quicker.
An ethereal quality is given by the reflection in the 'floods'.
The concrete hopper reflected in a muddy puddle.
A reflection of the concrete hopper and hoist shaft.
This close-up shows an equipment door, the emergency ladder and the windows. The second window from the right is on the slant. This is beleived to have been caused by the shuttering catching the window former as the rig lifted it happend to at least one other window. Both windows are to be cut out and recast at a later date.
The jacking rod has now been cut to give access to the tower.
With the first 15.5 metres completed the mobile crane is prepared for departure. The hoist will now be attached to the rig now that the necessary ground clearance has been acheived.
Readings being taken to assess the change in the car park level due to tower settlement.
Lightweight blocks to be used to fill-in at the top of the tower where the 'needle eye' is the be formed. They are to be put in the shuttering where gaps between concrete are to be formed. They are to be knocked out when the interior walls and floors are constructed.
A few blocks built up between a trial portion of shuttering to check their suitability.
One of the tensioning units used to prevent the rig from turning.
The water level indicator. The level is shown by the level of the water in the tube - shown against level 5.
Vertical supports the block-end
This plate, buried into the wall, was not only used as a height gauge, but also supported the emergency ladder that is placed up the outside. As can be seen the height of the tower was about 117.5 metres.
An interesting shot of the hole at the top.
A view up the inside of the tower after slip forming had been completed. The effect was a curious fore-shortening of the distance between top and bottom. This was not just distortion of the camera but an effect on the naked eye aswell.
A night shift worker cementing blocks into the shuttering at the top of the tower.
The guide channel being fixed into the required position.
A view up the inside of the tower to show work on the modification of the rig. Several planks have been removed and the first three new support steels have been put into place.
Parts of the new hoist, for the 'jumpform' phase, waiting to be installed. The most noteable item being the new cage.
The hoist pulley for use with the shaft-building rig.
Steelwork for strengthenning the floors delivered to site.
The concrete mixer is used to provide a concrete mix suitable for laying over rough ground.
Looking up the lobby area showing the working platforms within the confined lobby space.
The doorway into the lobby area of the shafts at level 4m.
Inside the rig on the main working level, is the control panel for the 24 lifting jacks. the actual control box has yet to be fitted, it will appear above the small box on the left above the work bench. Beneath the bench is the oil pump (left) along-side a second pump which will only be used in the event of failure of the first one.
The almost deserted company car park by thr side of the tower site. The small circle about 20 feet infront of the car is the point on which levels are taken to check movement of the surface due to settlement of the tower.

14th March 2017

Link to a story from Studor on a pretty windy day
at the tower.



28th Feb 2017. New training brochure available here


6th July 2016. Some fascinating pictures of the
tower being constructed have been added

12th May 2016. New brochure available.


13th July 2015. Drone flight up the full height of the tower.


Superfast broadband in Northampton - we have recently partnered with a local company to provide superfast broadband into areas of Northampton that currently do not have coverage. The name of the company is Barton Broadband and the website is here. Please get in touch if you would like to find out if coverage is available in your area.

For information on booking abseils at the tower, please follow this link to an external website.