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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
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
- 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.
- 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.”
- Sir Frank Williams Drive on the Great Western estate in Didcot before the demolition
- 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.
- 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
- 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.”
- 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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