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Zoe Mulford: Postcards (Blog)

The Beetham Tower (Click Header for Full Entry)

Posted on February 15, 2010 with 0 comments

The Beetham Tower is the tallest building in Manchester. Like many city residents, I can see it from my flat.

Like some local equivalent of Mount Fuji, it presents a constantly changing aspect depending on the weather - standing out against a clear sky or shrouded in low cloud, twinkling with lighted windows at night or completely obscured by snowfall.

The lower half of the building is occupied by the Hilton hotel. On my side of the building, part of the lighted sign is burned out or blocked - causing the building to drop its “H”  in a most common manner and become the ‘ilton after dark. I don’t know why they haven’t fixed it; it’s been like this for as long as I’ve been here.

On the top of the building is a metal grid, the purpose of which is unclear. There is also a small crane, which is used to lower the window-washers down the faces of the building.

The building or some part of it generates a humming noise, which we can hear from our flat on windy days. We read online that this hum (about the pitch of middle C) is so audible that the technicians at Grenada Television Studios several blocks away have to notch that frequency out of the soundtrack of Coronation Street.

The Beetham Tower has its own weather-pattern. The area around its base is prone to violent updrafts and is the worst place in the city to try to walk through with an umbrella.

Here’s a video of it being struck by lightning.