Glasgow & West Scotland

Second of Glasgow's iconic Red Road tower blocks demolished

Birnie Court demolition 5 May Image copyright Young Media
Image caption The 30-storey building at Birnie Court was brought down in five seconds

The second of eight iconic Glasgow Red Road high rises has been razed to the ground in a controlled explosion.

Hundreds gathered to watch the demolition of the 30-storey building at Birnie Court.

It took five seconds and about 88kg of explosives to reduce the tower to 10,000 tonnes of debris.

The remaining six condemned blocks at Red Road are to be demolished by 2017 as part of a Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) regeneration project.

Built in the mid 1960s, these eight blocks housed about 4,000 people and were once the highest flats in Europe.

Fewer than 300 people now live there, after decades of the buildings becoming run down.

Even after falling into decline, the estate remained an important part of the Glasgow skyline and formed the inspiration for many books and films.

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Media captionAbout 88kg of explosives were used to reduce the tower to 10,000 tonnes of debris

While many artists, writers and film-makers were initially attracted by the architecture, it was the residents that maintained their interest.

In 2006, director Andrea Arnold used the flats as the setting for her Scottish Bafta winning film Red Road.

Alison Irvine's 2011 novel This Road is Red was based on interviews with people living there.

'Little community'

Frances Smith, 49, from Bishopbriggs, lived at Red Road when she was a teenager.

She said: "It was a great place to grow up. In fact, I'm still in touch with some of the people even now.

"We also lived in one of the other blocks at Red Road, but Birnie Court was different.

"It was a bit away from the other flats. It was very well kept as the caretaker was really strict. The second my mum saw the flat she was sold on it.

"We had our own little community. At one point there were 17 children living in our landing on the 12th floor. It was a great time."

GHA executive director Alex McGuire, said the demolition was "another step in the ongoing regeneration of Glasgow".

He added: "I'd like to thank all of the residents and businesses for their cooperation both before and after the blowdown."

About 450 homes were temporarily evacuated during the demolition.

The first of the tower blocks was demolished in June last year.

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