Glasgow & West Scotland

Glencairn Tower in Motherwell brought down by explosion

A well-known Lanarkshire tower block has been demolished in a controlled explosion.

Thousands of people watched the "blow-down" of the 17-storey Glencairn Tower in Motherwell at about 12:15.

About 100kg of explosives were used to raze the building to the ground. A clear-up operation in the surrounding area is under way.

The tower block was built in the 1960s and was removed to make way for new low-rise affordable housing.

As part of an art project organised by local minister the Reverend Derrick L Watson, the tower had various images celebrating its history projected onto it ahead of demolition.

The controlled explosion was carried out by Technical Demolition Services (TDS) with support from Precision Demolition Company.

Emotional day

Councillor Barry McCulloch, convener of housing and social work services at North Lanarkshire Council, said: "Our aim was to ensure the tower was demolished safely and with minimum disruption to local residents and businesses during this process, and today's successful demolition achieved that.

"I now look forward to the site making way for our new homes."

An exclusion zone put in place around the site has been lifted, with residents allowed to return to their homes and businesses.

Street-cleaning teams were clearing the roads around where the tower block stood and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue were on hand to hose down any buildings affected by the dust.

The council said the only damage identified by contractors was a cracked window.

Former Glencairn Tower tenant, Colin Campbell, said "It's been a nostalgic and emotional day. Having lived in and grown up in the tower, I have many fond memories of the building, particularly as my dad was one of the caretakers there.

"It was spectacular to see and I'm sure the new houses planned for the tower site will make a positive difference to the local area."

Craig Wilson from Technical Demolition Services said a total of 64 charges were set-off during the demolition operation.

He added: "Undertaking a blow-down is a huge task and its success is all in the planning and co-operation of the contractor and the client."

Speaking ahead of the demolition former Glencairn resident Jack Daly, who moved in when he was six years old, told BBC Scotland that when the tower was completed in 1964 it was seen as a modern and exciting place to live.

"Getting a house within Glencairn was a real prize," he said.

"When we walked in everything was brand new - a fresh coat of paint, there were tiles on the floor, new bathrooms and kitchens and under-floor heating.

"All of that was nothing like where we had come from."

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