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2012, A year in the life of: Smeaton's Tower and the Hoe

By marcprosser  |  Posted: December 31, 2012

Photo by: Visentico / Sento

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Throughout December, thisisplymouth.co.uk looks back at the past year in Plymouth. We will delve into what happened during the last 12 months for people, organisations and even buildings in Plymouth. Today we will be looking at the last 12 months in the life of Smeaton's Tower and the Hoe.

It could be argued that Smeaton's Tower had a front row seat to many of the past year's biggest events in Plymouth.

So it was somehow fitting that Smeaton's Tower began the year by being surrounded by scaffolding ahead of a spring clean and spruce-up for what would be a very busy spring, summer and autumn.

One of the events to visit the Hoe's picturesque views throughout the year was the charitable Plymouth Bike Nights which got off to a good start with 300 bikers meeting to raise funds for military charities.

Other events like the 2012 version of the Babcock Plymouth Half Marathon, the Sainsbury's Sport Relief Mile also used the Hoe, as did the perhaps biggest event in Plymouth during 2012.

In the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics, Plymouth was visited by the Olympic Torch. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets to witness the event and packed the Hoe for a celebration party.

Another contender for the biggest event of the year was the Armed Forces Day, where the whole country's eyes were focussed on the celebrations and events taking place in Plymouth.

The city had been chosen as this year's host and an estimated 30,000 people flocked to the Hoe for an action-packed day that included a display by the world-famous Red Arrows.

In November another, more sombre, military event took place on the Hoe, as the city paid homage to fallen soldiers from past and current conflicts on Remembrance Day.

For Smeaton's Tower, 2012 was also full of events. 2012 included celebrating the International Lighthouse Day and a visit from none other than Napoleon Bonaparte during a musical walk arranged by Plymouth City Museum and Art Centre.

The iconic lighthouse also had a good view of Guy Fawkes night and the annual British Fireworks Championships.

During the latter, strong winds meant that Plymouth City Council and The Event Services Association had to cancel the stage entertainment.

Other events on the Hoe were also affected by one of the major talking points of 2012: the atrocious weather conditions.

For example, Plymouth's Mega Ride motorcycle event had to be postponed due to weather conditions and several of the Plymouth Bike Nights, scheduled to take place during the summer, were cancelled due to bad weather.

Another major talking point of 2012 – the state of the economy – could also be felt on the Hoe as the huge 'Plymouth Eye' stopped turning due to poor financial results for the owner.

Towards the end of the year, it was announced that the big wheel had been bought by the world's biggest fun fair company and would run throughout the Christmas holiday.

However, the financial situation was not all doom and gloom. During the inaugural Marine City Festival, business leaders from the city and beyond gathered for a conference on the Hoe.

The message was that Plymouth was uniquely situated to become a hub for marine industries and that, although times were indeed hard, the city had also seen new companies and start-ups spring up in the city since the economic downturn.

Another event during the festival showcased some of the innovation taking place at Plymouth University.

Like most of the events that took place during 2012, the Marine City Festival looks set to return to Plymouth Hoe next year. So looking forward to 2013, the Hoe will again host a great number of events that will showcase some of what makes Plymouth unique. Events that Smeaton's Tower will have a front row seat to.

What have been your favourite moments and/or stories about Smeaton's Tower and Plymouth Hoe this year? And what other people, organisations and buildings would you like to see us use for the 'A year in the life of series? Let us know in the comment field below.

Selected 2012 stories about Smeaton's Tower and the Hoe:


Vandals deface Plymouth Hoe landmark months after renovation (Jan 13)


Plymouth Hoe landmark Smeaton's Tower to be repainted after eight years (Feb 21)


Plymouth landmark Smeaton's Tower surrounded by scaffolding for paint job (Mar 10)

PICTURES: Plymouth Hoe Sport Relief mile (Mar 26)


New route revealed for Plymouth Half Marathon (Apr 5)

Bike Night off to a flier on the Hoe (Apr 6)

Big Wheel must stop turning at the end of year (Apr 7)

Plymouth officially accepts role as host of Armed Forces Day (Apr 20)


Tens of thousands welcome Olympic Torch in Plymouth (May 21)

Field gun crew Cubs battle it out on the Hoe (May 28)


Spotlight on Plymouth for Armed Forces Day, with Red Arrows set to perform (Jun 5)

Plymouth Mega Ride postponed due to bad weather (Jun 8)

PICTURES: 3,000 take part in Race for Life 2012 on Plymouth Hoe (Jun 25)


PICTURES and VIDEO: 30,000 attend Armed Forces Day 2012 in Plymouth (Jul 2)

Plymouth beauty spots being used as rubbish dumps by thoughtless visitors (Jul 30)


VIDEO and PICTURES: Thousands join the 'fantastic' Megaride meet (Aug 13)

Plymouth's British Fireworks Championships, night one (Aug 14)

High wind sees stage entertainment cancelled at British Fireworks Championships Plymouth (Aug 15)

Light fantastic at Plymouth Hoe landmark Smeaton's Tower (August 18)


VIDEO: Plymouth University holds robotic science showcase (Sep 11)

Two teenagers rescued from rocks on the Hoe (Sep 16)


Sound and fury at Hoe Bonfire Night (Oct 25)

Children build 3D Plymouth map at museum (Oct 31)


Plymouth Bike Nights gives proceeds to selected charities (Nov 2)

Museum honours Charles Eastlake with musical walk (Nov 3)

PICTURES: Plymouth Hoe Bonfire Night fireworks and celebrations 2012 (Nov 6)


Bid to keep Plymouth's big wheel turning (Dec 21)

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  • Rick_OShay  |  January 01 2013, 12:41PM

    Charlie Good euphemism, there is already quite a bit of lighting up and flashing as it is. I didn't realise that you were that way inclined but I guess that the phrase "broad church" covers many things. Best of luck, Rick O'Shay Zog

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  • Janey_Socks  |  January 01 2013, 10:42AM

    Charlie you do have a point. What if a ship crashed? Who would be responsible?

  • newjanner  |  January 01 2013, 10:11AM

    Love it Rick. No comments about it being photographed less than Viv ?

  • CharlieDodd  |  January 01 2013, 9:59AM

    Can't the lighthouse be made to light up and flash at night like they're supposed to?

  • Rick_OShay  |  December 31 2012, 4:33PM

    A Year in the Life of Smeatons Tower; the untold version January I survived the new year celebrations, I wish those dirty gits would find somewhere else to have a pizz than my door February I'm in good shape for an old building, I'll see out the Civic Centre easily and as for the Staples building.....I'll give it 5 years before it falls apart. March I see that Gary Rhodes is going to set up a restaurant near me. My suggested menu would be roast seagull, followed by seagull terrine and a desert of seagull ice cream to finish off the meals. I hate those feckin seagulls. April I'm feeling good after my new paint job, personally I would have chosen nude as that's the fashion colour for this season but someone said that it would make me look a bit of a knob. May So that's what the Olympic torch looks like, pathetic. Come over here and compare yourself to me! They don't call me big boy for nothing. June Whey hey hey, it's fancy dress down there. I can see more brass on show than at the National Shire Horse Convention. Mind you, some of those dignitaries wouldn't look out of place towing a plough or two. I hope those feckin Red Arrows watch where they're flying. July I hate July, all those foreign language students tramping up and down me. If I had my way they would all be banned, I'm typical UKIP me........the lights are on but nobody's at home. August Someone ought to tell the owners of flat 8 on Grand parade to buy net curtains........ or lose a few kilos September Well done to the council on another successful season running the outdoor pool. What a money spinner that's turned out to be. October Bonfire night..........one of the cultural highlights............the Guy this year looks familiar.........is it the love child of Viv and Tudor? November Will this rain never feckin stop??????????????? I thought it was bad enough being stuck on that bleddy rock 12 miles out to sea. I take it back about UKIP, perhaps they will pay for me to be deported somewhere sunny if I convince them that my windows are French. December Haaaa, big wheel........you loser. I'm still number one in this neighbourhood.

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