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.
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.
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.
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.Follow @RobJBC