National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Dr William Henry Cocker Tower

Summary

Type Clock Tower , Medallion

     The focal point of the park. Upon a cruciform base with four steps facing almost north, south, east and west, a slightly battered classical clock tower built in ashlar with a rusticated first stage, a north door facing the cafe surmounted by the borough arms and lancet windows facing east and west. The door has a segmental pediment. The rest of the tower is less strongly rusticated with three lancet windows and clock face upon each elevation. A medallion of the bearded head of Cocker surmounts the inscription; both of these are on one bronze casting. At the top, the roof is a stepped pyramid which bears a small finial. At the base there are two bronze lion masks decorating the drinking fountains. The tower was designed by the architect Lionel Budden, the winner of a competition who was an assistant professor of architecture at Liverpool University.
     Dr William Henry Cocker (1836-1911) was elected the first mayor of Blackpool in 1876, fifty years before the completion of the memorial tower which also commemorates the 50th year of the borough. Cocker was the son of Dr John Cocker who built the first Assembly Rooms above the Victoria Promenade and the grandson of Mr Henry Banks, of Bank Hey House, who is often described as ‘the father of Blackpool’. Dr William Cocker was a local general practitioner, a borough councillor for thirty five years and a Justice of the Peace. Elected three times mayor (in 1876, 1884 and 1886) he was, in 1896, the first freeman of the borough. [The Borough website states he was mayor three times, not six times as recorded on the plaque. This doubling was probably the result of a misreading of mayoral years as each year is recorded thus: 1876-7; 1884-5; 1886-7.] On his election as mayor, he donated the chain of office to the town. Among other achievements, he bought the Prince of Wales Arcade and turned it into the first Blackpool aquarium and menagerie. His property company in 1891 became the Blackpool Tower Company, which built the famous tower on an adjacent site. Later he sold the front plot of the Bank Hey House garden which became the Winter Gardens. On one occasion he entertained the Lord Mayor of London. It may have been a source of amusement to Blackpool Corporation to build a second tower in the town in his memory.
    

Inscriptions

THIS TOWER WAS ERECTED IN THE/ YEAR 1926 THE JUBILEE OF THE/ INCOPRORATION OF THE BOROUGH OF BLACKPOOL/ IN HONOUR OF/ WILLIAM HENRY COCKER ESQ JP/ MRCS ENG LSA/ 1ST MAYOR OF THE BOROUGH/ A MAN OF IDEAS WIDE VISION AND STERLING ABILITY/ DR COCKER RENDERED EMINENT SERVICE/ TO THE MUNICIPALITY HE WAS ELECTED MAYOR/ ON SIX OCCASIONS AND WAS A MEMBER OF THE/ COUNCIL FOR 35 YEARS DURING A LONG/ CAREER OF UNSELFISH DEVOTION TO PUBLIC DUTY/ IT WAS HIS CONSTANT ENDEAVOUR TO INCREASE/ THE POPULARITY OF BLACKPOOL AS A HEALTH AND PLEASURE RESORT. THE JUBILEE MARKED THE REALISATION OF THE WONDERFUL DEVELOPMENTS/ WHICH HE ADVOCATED WITH STEADFAST/ FAITH AND CONFIDENCE

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Tower Stone 26 meters high; the clock 2 meters in diameter
Medallion Bronze 30 cm diameter

PMSA recording information

General condition
Surface condition
Structural condition
  • Good
  • Good
Vandalism
Road Stanley Gardens
Precise location On the north-south axis of the park between the South Gate and the Italian Garden
A-Z ref
OS ref
Date of design 1925-6
Year of unveiling 1926
Unveiling details
Commissioned by
Duty of care Blackpool Corporation
Listing status
At risk? No

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