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Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 18:33 GMT
Tower blocks reduced to rubble
Demolition in progress
The flats were built in the 1960s
BBC Scotland's James Cook watches the demolition of part of the skyline in the east end of Glasgow.

Explosives experts have successfully demolished two tower blocks in the Dalmarnock area of Glasgow.

In 1993 a woman died in a similar operation in the city's Gorbals district - but Sunday's blast went according to plan.

The flats at 40 and 50 Millerfield Road have been a feature of the Dalmarnock skyline since the mid-1960s.

Designed by Glasgow architects Parry and Hughes, they were initially home to more than 250 people.

The demolition
A number of people gathered to watch the demolition
Among the crowds who turned out to see the demolition was one man who lived in one of the blocks from October 1965 to June 1985.

"It was all very shiny at first and it was a great thing for my mother and father to go to from just having a wee room and a kitchen," he recalled.

However, he said the intervening decades had been cruel to Millerfield Road, which like many parts of Glasgow's east end had suffered from a lack of investment.

Another former resident, Gordon Simpson, had travelled from the East End of London to see the destruction of what had been his home for 20 years.

"Honestly, it was the greatest place in the world - you couldn't get a house in there, it was that fantastic.

No surrounding properties were damaged
"The friends I've met in just couldn't get it now," he said.

The number of tenants dwindled as the towers decayed, and on Sunday afternoon time ran out for the two blocks.

A maroon fired into the sky sounded their death knell and 30 seconds later the 24-storey blocks collapsed in on themselves with a series of great rumbling booms.

A cloud of dust billowed out across the exclusion zone, enveloping several homes which had been evacuated earlier in the day.

And when the sky cleared it emerged that little damage had been caused to the surrounding properties.

'Successful demolition'

There was a sense of satisfaction as the experts who had packed the building with 100kg of high explosives in 6,000 separate charges picked through the 15,000 tonnes of rubble.

Dick Green, senior explosives engineer with Controlled Demolition Group, said everything had gone according to plan.

"It has been a successful demolition at first impressions," he said.

"The building's come down, nobody's been hurt, there's been no damage to any surrounding properties or services, so initially it's been quite successful."

Gordon Simpson
Gordon Simpson is a former resident
He said there was a great sense of achievement and pride when the demolition was complete.

"It's not so much the bang and the explosion, we see that all the time, but it's the actual seeing the building move and walking forward and seeing it falling where you wanted it to fall, positioned exactly where you'd designed it to be positioned.

"That's the great buzz you get at the end of it."

Glasgow City Council, which paid 1.2m for the operation, said more demolitions were planned for the Dalmarnock area.

A spokeswoman said that once these were completed the council could begin to concentrate on its long-term plans for building better housing in the area.

BBC Scotland's James Cook reports
"There was some sadness at the impending demise of the Dalmarnock landmark"
See also:

28 Dec 01 | Scotland
'Huge gaps' in housing plan
21 Nov 01 | England
Demolition blunder at Number 13
12 Nov 01 | Scotland
Tenants to receive transfer details
28 Jul 00 | Scotland
Heritage concerns after court ruling
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