Something about Stoodley Pike

Stoodley Pike is a 121 foot monument that stands on the moors above Todmorden in West Yorkshire in Northern England. The current structure was designed by local architect James Greebn in 1854 and the building was completed in 1856 when peace was declared at the end of the Crimean War.

An earlier pike had existed on the site, started in 1814 to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon and the surrender of Paris then completed in 1815 after the battle of Waterloo.

The structure collapsed in 1854 following an earlier lightning strike and ongoing wear and tear from the elements. The replacement was therefore – rather wisely – built slightly further from the edge of the hill. During repair work in 1889 a lightning conductor was added. The pike has since been struck by lightning on numerous occasions without any notable structural damage. There is evidence to suggest that some sort of structure existed on the site before even this earlier pike was built.
The inscription above the entrance is worn and covered with lichen but it is legible and reads:

”Stoodley pike a beacon monument erected by
public subscription commenced in 1814 to
commemorate the surrender of Paris to the
allies and finished after the battle of Waterloo
when peace was established in 1815. By a strange
coincidence the pike fell on the day the Russian
ambassador left London before declaration
of war with Russia in 1854. Was rebuilt when
peace was restored in 1856. Restored and
lightning conductor fixed 1889.”

The entrance to the spiral staircase of 39 steps is on the north side of the monument. In 1889 during repairs, a grill was added to the top step to allow light to pass into the gloomy steps beneath, so only six or seven steps are actually in total darkness. There are no windows. The exit from the staircase to the balcony is on the west face. The balcony is approximately 40 feet above ground level.
Now Stoodley Pike primarily serves as an interesting destination for hikers, being handily close to the Mankinholes Youth Hostel and the Top Brink pub.
The Pennine Way (Britains first National Trail, opened in 1965) passes Stoodley Pike.
Throughout it’s existence the Pike has been subject to countless folk bringing hammers and chisels and carving their names into the stones. This practice has caused the majority of the erosion to the stonework (the remainder caused by walking boots and the weather). More recently, Stoodley Pike has suffered from more modern and unsightly forms of graffiti, resulting in ”Man City” being scrawled all over the monument for over a month, and various other random messages in varying colours of paint. Perhaps most enduring of all is a 1960’s ”Peace symbol” on the north face high on the obelisk. This is still clearly visible today if you step back when sun is not too bright.

In the last couple of years the entrance to the pike has been re-paved and a seat has been provided just in front of the rock face to the southwest of the monument.
The sight is inaccessible due to terrain to all vehicles.

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