Look at the difference 15 seconds can make...

Mendip Heights, Didcot, before the demolition

Mendip Heights, Didcot, before the demolition Buy this photo

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

DIDCOT is adjusting to a new skyline after Sunday’s demolition brought three iconic cooling towers of Didcot A crashing to the ground in just 15 seconds.

Both long-term residents and newcomers to the town have said they are finding the gap in the landscape hard to come to terms with, but not everyone is sad to see them go.

The Oxford Times:

  • Angela Howard

Angela Howard, from Mendip Heights, has been used to seeing the towers from her bedroom window for the past 12 years.

She said: “I didn’t even have to leave the comfort of my own home to watch the demolition, I was able to look out the window at them as they went down. It was absolutely rammed round here on Sunday with people gathering to watch.

“It is strange to see them gone and I hope whatever replaces them is good for the town.

The Oxford Times:

  • Residents of Mendip Heights, Didcot, are getting a lot more daylight now the towers have gone

“There are rumours it will be developed for housing but I’m not sure if our roads could cope with that because Didcot is growing fast.”

A few doors away her neighbour Jim Chandler, who has also lived in Mendip Heights for 12 years, said he had mixed feelings.

The Oxford Times:

  • Jim Chandler

He said: “The view is better so that’s good, but at the same time I think it’s sad that power stations in this country are closing down.

“I’ve lived in Didcot all my life and I saw the towers built and now I’ve seen them come down.

“You have to move with the times though. I got up and went down to watch and I enjoyed it but now they’re gone I’m not particularly sad about it, that’s just the way things go.”

The Oxford Times:

  • Rakesh Venkadara

At Great Western Park, the three remaining towers of Didcot A are still visible but Rakesh Venkadara, 32, said he missed the three towers that have gone.

The software engineer, who has lived in Sir Frank Williams Avenue for just six months, said: “I feel something is missing, I went down the morning after the demolition and it just felt so empty.

“It was a great event though, Saturday night before the demolition was really busy here – it was like a party with lots of kids running around and having fun.

“It was a really nice event for the community and I would like to see something built there which the community can benefit from in the long term.”

The Oxford Times:

  • Tracey Paley

But Tracey Paley, 42, who has lived in Didcot all her life, was not as bothered by the towers coming down.

She said: “To be honest, I haven’t really noticed. I think it would have been better if they’d taken the towers down in stages and let us go down and get pictures with one missing, and then another missing and so on.

“The way they did it just isn’t as special, although my boys still enjoyed it. My older sons Daniel and Matthew went down to watch and I got photos of one of my four-year-old twins, Kaine with the towers in the background before they came down. It’s a nice piece of history to hold on to.”

Readers' poems

The Cooling Towers

Ominous towering cooling stacks

overlooking busy railway tracks.

Watching commuters begin their day

boarding trains to be whisked away.

Quietly watching the passers-by

these looming sentinels of the sky.

Standing tall and belching steam

but are they really what they seem.

Guardians over us, watching far and wide

or just an eyesore upon the countryside.

Trevor Bowerman, via email

The Oxford Times:

  • Dust emerges as the towers fall                   

There once were three towers in Didcot, Some liked them, but some people did not.
By now there’s a void, because they were destroyed, on a summer day’s morning in Didcot.

Axel Horndasch, 41, who lives in East Oxford, wrote a short poem about the towers after watching the demolition from Wittenham Clumps. He said: “It was over so quickly but it was a great thing to be part of and to watch.

The Oxford Times:

  • Shortbread models of the towers

An edible tribute

These shortbread models of the towers lasted just as long as their real-life counterparts on Sunday.

Angie Johnson, or Mrs Bun the Baker as she often goes by, baked the 12cm high replicas to take to the crowds watching the demolition.

The 43-year-old Didcot resident said: “It was absolutely amazing seeing it all. As soon as I brought my towers out they were gone. It was incredible seeing the landscape change so dramatically afterwards.”

The Oxford Times:

  • Sir Frank Williams Drive on the Great Western estate in Didcot before the demolition

The Oxford Times:

  • Sir Frank Williams Drive on the Great Western estate in Didcot took on a whole new look after the blasts

Capturing moments in time

Oxford Mail readers have been sending in their pictures of the Didcot cooling towers.

From a sunset several years ago, and the calm before the blast the evening before the demolition, to the dusty scene moments after the explosives were ignited, each picture tells a story of a moment in time.

The Oxford Times:

  • Elaine Lanighan’s striking image of the towers on Saturday evening. Their tranquil reflection on a warm summer’s evening are in stark contrast to their annihilation only hours later

The Oxford Times:

  • Bryan Robertson, of Green Lane, Woodstock, says: “I found this picture I took in May 2003 when I was waiting for a train. The sun was just setting between two of the three now flattened towers. I was doing my artistic bit on a scene which now, 11 years on, has been consigned to history, as the sun finally did set on them on Sunday. I saw them being built, I never thought I would see them demolished.”

The Oxford Times:

  • Roland Gooday captures the dust cloud rising seconds after the three blasts on Sunday morning

See our website www.oxfordmail.co.uk for video of the demolition and a gallery of pictures

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Comments (2)

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5:28pm Tue 29 Jul 14

EMBOX2 says...

We'll be even more sorry when we have blackouts in a couple of years time. Four percent reserve generating capacity on the grid......don't say you weren't warned.

Smoky, dirty, inefficient - yes it was, but it was cheap electricity, and not the massively expensive nuclear and wind we're moving to.

By someone's estimation, that is progress, it seems.
We'll be even more sorry when we have blackouts in a couple of years time. Four percent reserve generating capacity on the grid......don't say you weren't warned. Smoky, dirty, inefficient - yes it was, but it was cheap electricity, and not the massively expensive nuclear and wind we're moving to. By someone's estimation, that is progress, it seems. EMBOX2
  • Score: 7

12:53pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Gezz123 says...

Look at the 2 photos of the Sir Frank Williams Drive. On the 1st one the thin tower is not as tall as the lamp post. On the 2nd shot, it is clearly taller than the lamp post. I think the authorities have discreetly extended the thin tower whilst everyone was looking at the other 3 towers.
Look at the 2 photos of the Sir Frank Williams Drive. On the 1st one the thin tower is not as tall as the lamp post. On the 2nd shot, it is clearly taller than the lamp post. I think the authorities have discreetly extended the thin tower whilst everyone was looking at the other 3 towers. Gezz123
  • Score: -3

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