In search of Yorkshire’s tallest structure

What is the biggest structure in Yorkshire. Is York Minster higher than the Humber Bridge? Is Bridgewater Place taller than Wainhouse Tower? Yes this has been endlessly discussed and debated. Now its time to find out the truth. So we’ll start from the bottom and work upwards so as to speak..

Whitby Lighthouse-  22m (72ft)

Whitby lighthouse stands out on the coastline Picture credit Nigel Chadwick geograph wikipedia creative commons.
Whitby lighthouse stands out on the coastline Picture credit Nigel Chadwick geograph wikipedia creative commons.

 

The baby of this collection is Whitby lighthouse, standing at just 22m tall. Built in 1832 and located on the West pier of Whitby harbour, this structure is still an impressive sight when stood at the bottom and an important landmark for seafarers along the Yorkshire coast. The lighthouse is now once again open to the public to climb to the top and take in the wonderful sea views.

York Minster 72m (236ft)

It's the biggest building in York, but not in Yorkshire. PIcture credit: Lesley Gunn IFY community.
It’s the biggest building in York, but not in Yorkshire. Picture credit: Lesley Gunn IFY community.

 

Surprisingly, the seemingly gigantic York Minster is only second on our list. The building’s central tower stretches to 72m, the equivalent of a 23-storey building. Visitors can climb the 275 steps to reach its summit. A planning law means that no other structure can be built higher than this magnificent feat of engineering and gothic elegance. While it is the tallest building in the city of York, it is most certainly not the biggest in Yorkshire.

Wainhouse Tower 84m (253ft)

Wainhouse tower was a happy accident. Picture credit James Brook (IFY community)
Wainhouse tower was a happy accident. Picture credit James Brook (IFY community)

 

One of Britain and Yorkshire’s finest follies, which stands at 84 metres high and towers over Halifax is an impressive sight to all who see it. The reason why this tower suddenly appeared in the late 19th Century is down to industrialist, John Edward Wainhouse. The structure was originally commissioned as a dye works tower, but was never used for this purpose and so it remained as a folly. Nowadays visitors can mount the 403 steps to the top on selected dates throughout the year.

Bridgewater Place 110m (360ft) 

The tallest building in Yorkshire, but not the largest structure- Bridgewater Place
The tallest building in Yorkshire, but not the largest structure- Bridgewater Place Picture Credit: Stanley Walker geograph wikipedia creative commons.

 

The “Dalek,” as it is commonly known is the tallest building in Yorkshire and contains apartments and offices for those who enjoy a bit of city living. This landmark (or eyesore) whichever way you look at it appeared on the Leeds skyline in 2007 and can be seen up to 25 miles around. With 32 floors and 430,00sqft of space it is not only the tallest but one the largest buildings in Yorkshire.

 

The Humber Bridge 156m (511ft)

 

The HUmber Bridge is bigger than you think, but still not the tallest. Picture credit: Nige Hatch IFY Community
The Humber Bridge is bigger than you think, but still not the tallest. Picture credit: Nige Hatch IFY Community

 

The longest single span suspension bridge in Yorkshire (well there’s only one) is also one of the highest structures in the county, reaching 156m from the top of its towers. Opened in 1981, this magnificent piece of engineering has linked Yorkshire to Lincolnshire over the waters of the River Humber (high winds permitting). In 2016 it was announced that a new tourist attraction, which will take visitors to the top of the Humber Bridge towers in a glass elevator being planned, with work is set to start later this year.

Bilsdale Mast – Helmsley 314m (1,030ft)

It towers over the North Yorks Moors and provides us with radio.- Bilsdale mast. Picture credit: Colin Gryce geograph creative commons.
It towers over the North Yorks Moors and provides us with radio.- Bilsdale mast. Picture credit: Colin Gryce geograph creative commons.

 

Double the height of the Humber Bridge, Bilsdale Mast was built in 1969 to introduce the North East to colour television. It is one of the most powerful masts in the country and is so tall it has recently been fitted with red aircraft warning lights. Bilsdale mast was one of the last transmitters to switch to digital broadcasting on 26th September 2012 and still carries many analogue radio signals for the area including Radio 1, Capital FM and Classic FM.

 

The highest structure in Yorkshire is…..

 

EMLEY MOOR TV MAST 330M (1,048FT)

The daddy- Emley Moor TV mast can bee seen for miles around in Yorkshire. Picture credit: Alan Zomerfield wikipedia geograph creative commons.
The daddy- Emley Moor TV mast can be seen for miles around in Yorkshire. Picture credit: Alan Zomerfield wikipedia geograph creative commons.

 

Dominating the West Yorkshire skyline and visible over a wide area, Emley Moor TV mast is the daddy of them all. Not only is it the tallest freestanding structure in Yorkshire, but also the UK, the 4th tallest tower in the EU and the 23rd biggest in the world. The current mast was completed in April 1971, after the previous one fell down in 1969 due the weight of melting ice. This one was even taller, standing at 1265ft and had to be supported by guy ropes. Its height though is a necessity, as it must transmit TV and radio signals over the biggest county in t’land and beyond. Although the mast is closed to the public, those few who are lucky enough to got to the top of the Emley Moor mast have a seven minute journey in a lift before they get to the top. Needless to say you need a head for heights!

Cover photo image: Steve Partridge geograph wikipedia creative commons