New name for Northampton's lift tower

The massive Express Lift Tower in the centre of Northampton has been renamed The National Lift Tower as the owners of the structure prepare to reopen the landmark building.

Over the past year, developer Peter Sullivan has spent more than 1 million restoring the 417ft structure, which is just off Weedon Road.

He plans to reopen the tower at the end of the month so it can be used by engineers and students for the first time since it was closed in 1997.

He said: "We want to re-brand the tower and move forward. It's not owned by one particular lift company any more, so we wanted to give it a name to reflect that.

"We'll be opening the first classes for lift engineering students at the end of September."

Mr Sullivan said bringing the landmark back into use had been a massive job because so much work restoration work needed to be done.

He said: "We've been working on it for nearly a year but I'm looking forward to seeing it operational again now. It's going to be a completely independent testing tower.

"I think it's the only one in the world that's completely independent, so anybody can hire it to do tests."

When the lift tower is reopened, it will include lift shafts which allow engineers to test lifts at speeds of up to 22 mph.

It will also feature a new building at the base of the tower featuring a reception area for visitors to the tower, a coffee shop and conference suite.