VISITORS to Glasgow University will soon get the chance to ride the first helter-skelter in one of the world's ancient seats of learning.

The inside of the university's iconic tower, which has been wreathed in scaffolding for the past eight months, has been transformed with the construction of the fairground slide.

Since last summer, engineers have worked in total secrecy to install the state-of-the-art attraction, which will be open to the public from the end of April.

Nearly half a kilometre of tightly twisting slide is packed into the historic tower, which was built in 1870, and the university hopes to attract visitors from around the world to try it for themselves.

Professor Frank Coton, the university's vice-principal for academic and educational innovation, said: “They said it couldn’t be done. Then they said it shouldn’t be done. But we did it anyway and we’re thrilled to be the first university in the world to fuse education and entertainment in such an exciting way.

"Standing at the top of the tower, you get a beautiful panoramic view across the city and the chance to catch your breath before heading down the slide, reaching speeds of up to 25mph.

“Sir Gilbert Scott designed a fantastic main building for us back in the 19th century, but it’s only now in the 21st century, with the installation of this helter-skelter, that we can truly say it is complete.”

The notoriously reclusive Phil Tsarina Folios, founder of renowned Croatian architects Prvi Travnja, came out of retirement to lead the pioneering design of the helter-skelter.

Mr Folios said: “Without a doubt this was the hardest challenge of my career. I built my reputation through innovative redesign of historic buildings, but this project has given me the confidence to take things to a new level.

"Creating an entertainment experience of this magnitude in utter secrecy inside a listed building was frightening, exhilarating, wonderful, so much so that in recent weeks I have taken on exciting new commissions.

"I can’t say much about these at this stage, but look out later this year and early next for amazing developments at Macchu Picchu, the Colosseum, and Stonehenge.

“I’ve personally used the helter-skelter more than a hundred times to date, and I hope visitors to the university will come to love this installation as much as I do. It’s my gift to the wonderful people of Scotland."

Liam King, Student Representative Council President said: "I have been working very hard over the past few months to overcome my fear of heights so that I could become the first student to go down this brand new helter-skelter.

"You have Glasgow and Edinburgh [universities]. Well, Glasgow has a far better helter-skelter than Edinburgh university.

"As SRC President, nothing makes me prouder than to say 'we are going to have a helter skelter at this university coming down the Gilbert Scott tower'."