Beetham Tower

In high winds this tower hums like an alien space ship coming into land.

The hum, recorded through my car’s sun roof on a very windy night.

In very high winds, the Beetham Tower in the centre of Manchester emits this very loud hum. The problem is caused by the glass and metal sculpture right at the top of the building. When the wind rushes past the edge of the glass panes turbulence is created. This is then amplified via resonance. (I think of the air between the deep glass panes).

“Quick sound level measurement at Beetham Tower – 78 dB Laeq,1s main freq in 250Hz 3rd/oct band”

Acoustic consultant Simon Jackson (@stjackson)

No wonder people complain about it keeping them awake, that is like having someone playing a tenor saxophone at a moderate volume level.


303 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ. You’ll only hear it when the wind is from the west and gusts over 70 mph.


Photo: Mikey

Author: Trevor Cox

I am a Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford where I carry out research and teaching focussing on architectural acoustics, signal processing and audio perception. I am also an author and radio broadcaster having presented many documentaries on BBC radio and written books for academics and the general public.