KEN Livingstone, the Mayor of London, has added his voice to the chorus of support for an all-new Skylon - the Hereford creation that stunned the world at the Festival of Britain more than 50 years ago.

Backing has been growing since the Hereford Times revealed that city steel fabrication firm Painter Brothers was ready to re-create its architectural blockbuster by the River Thames as a companion to the crowd-pulling London Eye.

The original Skylon towered 290ft above the South Bank as a post war morale booster at the 1951 Festival of Britain, only to be scrapped once the event ended.

Skylon 2004 is the brainchild of Professor Phillip King, president of the Royal Academy, and intended as a salute to acclaimed architect the late Sir Phillip Powell, who jointly designed the festival site.

Ian Ritchie, one of the country's leading architects, has put a design and a £800,000 cost estimate to the South Bank Centre that runs the cultural complex on the festival site.

The money could be raised privately. The South Bank Centre has said that it has no financial stake in the scheme.

"Skylon was a much-loved landmark, but there are complex planning issues," said Sue Rose, the Centre's head of public affairs.

The all-new Skylon could rise again near the Royal Festival Hall - the sole survivor of the festival that is about to have a £90m refit.

Mr Livingstone, told the Hereford Times that Skylon could be an 'exciting addition' to the development of the South Bank Centre as a world class cultural institution and leading tourist attraction.

"It will be for the South Bank Centre to study any plans and assess how they compliment their vision for the South Bank as a whole," he said.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey, who serves as Parliamentary under-secretary of state for culture, said that he had vivid memories of seeing Skylon at the 1951 Festival as a teenager.

"It opened my eyes to the wonder of design. If the South Bank Centre wants to rebuild Skylon for the 21st century I look forward to the opportunity to revisit an old friend," he said.

Lambeth Borough Council, which covers the South Bank Centre site, supports Skylon in principle as a proposal to regenerate the area, said spokesperson Andrea Lake.

But the plan would need to work within the stipulations of the South Bank conservation area, she said.

Critically acclaimed band Candidate has just released a top-rated album Under the Skylon - a set of songs inspired by the structure, which they describe as one of London's 'great lost landmarks'.

The band has urged its fans to back a re-build that it wholeheartedly supports.