Cooling Towers Gone in 20 Seconds

The three giant cooling towers at Didcot Power Station were reduced to rubble and enveloped the site in clouds of smoke in a controlled explosion at seven o’clock yesterday morning.

The towers, each 325 feet tall disappeared in twenty seconds – wiped from the landscape.

More than thirty people from Long Wittenham gathered to witness history in the making and it was a party atmosphere among those watching the demolition event along the footpath between Fieldside and Saxons Heath.  In one garden a family of six sitting in picnic chairs had a front row seat.  Mugs of tea helped pass the time.

People started gathering from 6am but they had to wait another hour before the sound of explosions ripped through the quiet Sunday morning air.  Those who failed to make the event were woken by loud explosions and the noise of rattling doors and windows.

For some of those watching it was an emotional moment and they were saddened to see iconic features of the landscape disappear. Vic Lester, 75, from Sinodun Close, Saxons Heath, worked on the site in the late 1960s.  After the towers had gone Vic’s wife Jill said: “It was said to see the towers disappear.  The power station has been part of the community for a very long time.  The towers and chimney were part of the landscape.  You knew when you were nearing home when you saw them on the horizon.  Now they’re gone a lot of people will miss them.”

Originally there were six towers.  Three were demolished in 2014.  Tragedy struck three years ago when four men were killed as they worked on preparing the main boiler house for demolition.

Like a giant finger pointing to the sky the 654ft high chimney remains, looking like a sad and lonely testimony to a bygone industrial age.  It’s due to bite the dust at an undisclosed date in October and then the whole site will make way for a new breed of high-tech companies, homes and leisure facilities.

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