Remember, Remember the 5th of November – in 1935? It was Bonfire Night and also Robert Heber-Percy’s 24th birthday party. His birthday present from Lord Berners was... An entirely useless 104 ft high Tower.
The Grand Opening and birthday celebration was a huge firework party, at which Berners’ guests were all allowed to burn up to six effigies of their enemies. Even six was deemed to be “most inadequate” by the guests.
Opening of the Folly Tower extract from Faringdon Advertiser 2007
Newspaper account of the Firework display
Ever since that first bonfire beacon in 1935, the Hill, the Woodland and the Tower have become not only an iconic landmark over the Vale, but also a symbolic beacon that is integral to Faringdon's identity.
To celebrate the Millennium in 2000, the Tower also became a beacon in the more literal sense. For three months, with a 2000-watt rotating light and its own beacon signature, it
became an officially registered lighthouse. Unique and utterly pointless, it is the only lighthouse that can’t be seen from the sea. Berners would have approved.
Beacon over the Vale
And every year since then, December through to March, the Tower again becomes a powerful beacon of light. The colours and effects are different every year, and everyone has their
favourites. The random searchlight perhaps? Or the giant white star?
Maybe the pulsating pink? Then there’s the traffic lights, and the rainbow colours and the.....