Red Road Demolition: Sunday 10 June (365.360° Day 322)


The Red Road flats make up a condemned high-rise housing complex in the north-east of Glasgow. The first three towers were formally opened on the 28 October 1966 and were, for a short time, the highest buildings in Europe.

As depression set in by the mid-1970s, the estate gained a reputation for anti-social crime, ranging from disaffected youths throwing objects from the roofs and frequent burglaries.

By the time the 1980s had dawned, it had become clear that the optimism that had surrounded the policy of high rise housing had waned in less than two decades, and despite attempts to regenerate the estate, drug dealing, muggings and other serious crime continued, and the towers – owing to their height – also came a popular spot for suicides.

Red Road increasingly came to be seen as a monument to the errors of Glasgow’s ambitious post-war housing renewal policy.

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The tower block at 153-213 Petershill Drive was the first on the site to be demolished by controlled explosion. The seven remaining blocks are due to come down by 2017. Originally designed for a population of 4,700, the entire site is now occupied by only a thousand or so residents, many of them refugees.

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Among the hundreds who still live in Red Road there is considerable opposition to the plans to demolish their homes. As one manifestation of this, the Save Our Homes group seeks to ensure the scheme’s continued existence. However, this seems unlikely to prevail as Glasgow Housing association continues to push forward with its planned demolition of the site.

red road flats petershill balornock demolition urban city architecture building tower blocks photography photo glasgow scotland bw black & white B&W mono monochrome nikon d700 rob cartwright

The steel structured tower at 153-213 Petershill Drive took just six seconds to fall after a series of carefully timed explosions, using 275 kg of explosive, which ripped along the building around the 6th to 8th floors.

red road flats petershill balornock demolition urban city architecture building tower blocks photography photo glasgow scotland bw black & white B&W mono monochrome nikon d700 rob cartwright

Instagram: @robjbc

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16 thoughts on “Red Road Demolition: Sunday 10 June (365.360° Day 322)

    • Thanks Ben. Probably the best answer to that is because I absolutely love B&W! It’s such a great treatment of so many photos in my opinion and really does give a timeless feel. It can often remove distractions from an image, focusing the eye in on formal, tonal or textural information rather than on colours. You can normally push the contrast much further too. It is great for portraits as well!

      I truly do love colour images too and, while I admire the commitment and purity of those who shoot 100% mono, probably two thirds of my images here are in colour. B&W is just so beautiful though and you should definitely try it out! Search online for B&W photo challenges and give it a go – it might expand your photographic knowledge and eye – it certainly did that for me! Many thanks : )

  1. We’ve been following the same pattern here in the US too. Not sad to see the high-rises go, but definitely sad to have seen the neighborhoods bulldozed decades ago.

    • Cheers Kieran! Yeah, nearly missed them too – hasn’t really heard anything about it until my uncle who stays in Dennistoun called me the day before to ask me if I was going to take pics. Very glad he did – it was pretty impressive stuff!

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