The Beacons

Mow Cop has for many years been used as a beacon point; this is obviously due to its height and excellent position, visible from 5 counties.
It is said the during the reign of Queen Elisabeth I, beacons were lit up and down the country warning of the imminent Spanish Armada’s attempted invasion, and there is little doubt that Mow Cop would have been part of this chain.
As far as I can ascertain the beacons in latter years have only been lit for special royal events, like coronations and of course weddings.
Two of the older pictures I have giving evidence of these beacons are from the coronation of George V in 1911 and his Silver Jubilee in 1936.
Both beacons were built using similar methods; rows of wooden beams and logs stacked neatly and lashed together forming a tower with waste wood and other flammable debris in the middle.

On the 29th July 1981 by order of Buckingham Palace, a chain of beacons was lit up and down the country, to commemorate the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer. The Royal institute of Chartered Surveyors was tasked with job of setting up the beacons and ensuring that all went well.

Royal wedding beacon pictures Courtesy of " The Congleton Chronicle"

The beacon was 25ft high and had a diameter of 32ft and was made of pallets, railway sleeps and brushwood. To the delight of many children school desks and chairs delivered by Baskervilles demolition were added. To the dismay of many a "Friend’s of the Earth" tyres were also put on. The beacon had 3 air vents allowing oxygen to the very center of the fire, where there were over 100 bags of wood shavings and diesel soaked cardboard.
Prince Charles lighted the first beacon at Hyde Park, and then the chain began. The chain came to the Wrekin in Shropshire; flares should have signaled the lighting of the Mow Cop beacon, however due to fog a message was to be sent via radio to Mr C Peel, a local Radio Ham. Then at 10:15 the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Lord Stafford lit the beacon in front of a crowd of over 5000. The next in the chain was Raw Head at Nantwich, and so on up the length of the country.
(Click photo below to zoom in)