(or in UK: Motorways, Dual Carriageways and ordinary roads you can sometimes go quite fast on)
I wasn’t quite old enough to drive when the Pennine Tower at Forton Service Station on the M6 motorway was built in 1965 though I did admire it from the back seat of the family car. Since then I must have passed it hundreds of times travelling between Scotland and England, or nowadays driving up from Lancashire for a day in the Lake District. It has always stood out, either as an iconic design or like a sore thumb, or both.
Last year I finally got round to taking this photograph.
It has its own website where I found some interesting facts:
Such was the novelty of an American styled refreshment outlet that not only could these areas attract the motorway travellers but also locals wanting to experience something different in a place that would stay open late. Some of its earlier patrons were said to have included the Beatles who regularly made the 70 mile journey from Liverpool to experience this high raised cosmopolitan world of speed, travellers and cappuccinos.Visiting the restaurant at the top of the tower was regarded as an up-market dining experience with waiter service and chefs in tall white hats.
And a second website containing some urban myths (tower had to be closed as it looked so much like a UFO when it was lit up at night that it distracted drivers. Or the fuel crisis meant that the tower couldn’t revolve).
As well as a fancy restaurant, The Pennine Tower also had a sundeck !!!! which for those who experience/endure the Lancashire climate seems a misplaced luxury.
Or perhaps there was more sunshine in those days.