Monday 19 August 2019

The Last Sunrise

The cooling towers at Didcot have been a landmark for South Oxfordsire since the 1960's when they were built. In 2014 the first three were demolished and I went along to watch today the last three would see their final sunrise because between 6 & 8am they would be demolished. Last time I watched from Harwell and the place was crowded with people and parked cars, this time I thought I would get a good vantage point from outside the village on the hill and as I had a 400mm lens that would suffice.
I got up at 5 in the morning which was lie in for me because last time they were supposed to be blown up at 3 in the morning and I had got up at two to see it. In the end it was 5 and the dawn was breaking. This time I got my bike out and cycled up the hill. On the way there a car overtook and parked up a little way down then I passed a family walking up the hill and greeted them as I rode past. I dropped my bike on the side of the road and jumped across a ditch to the stubble field I was going to put my tripod. The person who came up the hill in their car was stood there with their dog. After setting up the family arrived carefully picking their way over the ditch. It was not long before more people arrived and cars were getting parked up along the road. Around 6.30 one person told us that they has seen on twitter the towers were coming down at 7am. Looking around the hillside was quite crowded with villagers eager to see the event. some were even in deckchairs with a picnic. I realised one of my old mates was stood on the roadside right next to me with his wife. He had driven over from Ewelme to see it. We grew up together in the village before he move away he wanted to witness the occasion of the demolition because like me he had grown up with the towers.

Couple of days before hand I went to the Hill to get a test shot of the towers

5:40 in the morning the towers await their fate
6:56 the sun shines on the towers for the last time

 Four minuets later the towers star to topple
 As they come down the distort
 The one on the left is buckling
 while the others are on the way to the ground
 While the one on the left is still falling the other two are nearly down

The first two hit the ground the third is still collapsing

The final moments of the third tower and dust erupts 
 Over on Wittenham Clumps people are watching as well
But the view from both places has changed forever. The remaining stack will be bright down later in the Autumn. I will be there for that moment I saw it being built I will see it's end.
Below are a couple of videos of YouTube of the event

 BBC footage of the towers, worth watching 

This second one is one of the better ones I found .

Taking Part in Our World Tuesday



  1. As I saw them coming down on the news I thought of you and wondered if you would be there. You didn't disappoint, your photos are great.

  2. Amazing the way changes come and go to landscapes. Great shots capturing this one.

  3. Good thing you were there to capture all these.

    Worth a Thousand Words

  4. Terrific photos. I well remember all the cooling towers I saw in the English Midlands while travelling north to Scotland back in the 80s. The proliferation was stunning; at one point I counted a dozen from my seat in the train.

    We have a defunct nuclear plant here in Washington - the Satsop plant - that still has two ancient towers. They were built in the 70s, but never actually went into service due to improperly-planned funding and concerted public opposition to nuclear plants. For some reason they've never been taken down to this day, and have become local landmarks.

    Rusty Ring: Refections of an Old-Timey Hermit

  5. Wow - what a cool event to witness!

  6. I'd love to see something big demolished. You got some great shots!
    Thanks for linking up at

  7. Well, they came down a lot quicker than they built! I commented to a man in our village once that they were demolishing buildings which I had seen constructed. "It's even worse for me", he explained, "I was the architect who designed some of those buildings!"

  8. Thank you for documenting this enormous change. Your photos are fascinating.

  9. It doesn't take long for them to go.

  10. Thank you for documenting that. It really is so interesting to see those towers brought down.

  11. End of an era for sure. Interesting that you were there for their construction and deconstruction. - Margy

  12. This was better than being there myself. You slowed down time and added a nice commentary.


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