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