Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow skyline changes as Red Road flats are demolished

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Media captionOne of the triple blocks that make up Glasgow's Red Road flats was demolished in the controlled explosion

Part of the iconic Red Road flats complex in Glasgow has been blown down in a controlled explosion.

Crowds gathered to watch the demolition of the triple tower block at Petershill Drive in the north of the city.

Built in the mid-1960s to tackle the city's housing crisis, the flats once provided accommodation for almost 5,000 people.

The demolition programme, which changes the city's skyline, is part of Glasgow Housing Association's renewal plan.

There were eight tower blocks in total and when they were built, at 292ft (89m), they were the tallest residential structures in Europe.

Initially they were regarded as the answer to Glasgow's housing problem but in recent years have become rundown and vandalised, and stand largely empty.

Alex McGuire, from Glasgow Housing Association, said: "The Red Road flats were popular in their day and are known around the world, but their time has come to an end.

"We're pleased the demolition of the first of the Red Road blocks went according to plan."

As final preparations for the demolition got under way, Red Road was trending on Twitter.

About 275 kilos of explosives were used to bring down the triple block.

Due to the unique steel-frame structure of the flats, the bottom storeys remained - as planned - undisturbed after the blowdown. These will be demolished using machines.

About 2,000 people were temporarily removed from their homes with many of the local residents staying with family or friends or visiting the evacuation centre at All Saints Secondary School.

Image caption About 275 kilos of explosives were used to bring down the triple block

The clear-up operation will take several months to complete.

William Sinclair, from demolition contractors Safedem, said: "The Red Road flats have presented a unique series of challenges ranging from the size of the buildings to the steel frame structure.

"We're delighted to be involved in another successful demolition."

In recent years the flats had been home to refugees from many countries.

In March 2010, three Russian asylum seekers who had been living in the flats jumped to their deaths from one of the towers in Petershill Drive.

The flats were also the inspiration for Andrea Arnold's debut feature-length film "Red Road", which won five Scottish Baftas in 2006.

The film told the story of a lonely female CCTV operator who monitored the flats.

The remaining seven multi-storeys in the area are due to be demolished by 2017.

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