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Sunday, 2 December, 2001, 15:16 GMT
'Sick' building demolished
St John's House, Bootle, Merseyside, being demolished
The building was brought down with explosives
Thousands of people have watched the destruction of an office block known as Britain's sickest building.

The 19-storey Saint John's House in Bootle, Merseyside, was brought down with explosives.

It was said to have "sick building syndrome" after half the 2,000 Inland Revenue workers there suffered influenza-like symptoms.

A new 14-m St John's House was completed in July next to the old building.

It was an eyesore and most people round here will be glad to see the end of it

John O'Gara, Bootle resident

A spokesman for the Inland Revenue said: "There was obviously a problem with staff falling ill in the old building.

"They were always treated sympathetically, but it got to the stage where we simply had to get a new building.

"We are already in the new St John's and it is fantastic."

Local people lined the streets to watch the demolition on Sunday.

Industrial dispute

Bootle resident John O'Gara said: "The building made the tax workers inside it feel sick and it wasn't much better for those of us who had to look at it every day.

St John's House, Bootle, Merseyside
Half St John's House staff became ill
"It was an eyesore and most people round here will be glad to see the end of it."

Work began on the original St John's in 1971, but was not completed until 1981, due to one of the country's longest industrial disputes.

The demolition had been due to take place in September but was postponed because of concerns it would be "inappropriate" following the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Explosives were placed to make the building collapse inwards.

Stephen Bowcott, managing director of the building division of Mowlem, which constructed the new St John's, said: "A controlled implosion was necessary to avoid damaging the new building and to minimise disruption to local people."

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See also:

02 Dec 01 | England
Picture gallery: Goodbye St John's
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