IT remains one of the most impressive public monuments in East Lancashire and more than 120 years later it still has the power to inspire.

Darwen Tower was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and stands on the highest point above the town.

Local historian Anne Hull in her fascinating book, Darwen in its Hey Day, covers a lot of history about the Tower. A competition was held for the memorial, won by David Ellison, an office clerk in the town’s borough engineer and son of the borough treasurer.

After plans were drawn up and and architect appointed, stone from the adjacent Red Delph quarry was used in the construction.

The first sod was cut in 1897 by the then mayor, Alexander Carus. Amazingly the following year - on September 24, 1998 - around 3,000 people assembled for the official opening of Darwen’s new landmark.

The tower stands 86 feet high and is octagonal in shape with walls that are two-feet thick. It boasts 69 stone steps, 17 iron steps and 16 windows.

Public subscriptions had raised £2,000 out of which £800 was used to construct the tower, roughly £102,000 in today’s money.

The Diamond Jubilee Committee voted for £650 of the funds to go to the Nursing Association to be invested and some of the income used to send patients to convalescent hospitals, with the rest for the general purposes of the association.

In her book Anne Hull said the Diamond Jubilee was a major cause for celebration for Darwen.

She said: “Children in the town were given two days holiday from school.

“At Blackburn Road Wesleyan School, managers gave each child the new testament.”

Darwen in its Hey Day is available to buy from Darwen Heritage Centre in Railway Road, Darwen