Thousands gathered to say farewell to Didcot A power station, some coming from miles around to see the three towers fall at 5.01am yesterday morning.
Their determination to do so, despite so many barriers, not least the early hour, was evidence of just what the site means to so many. When faced with such a technical job as a planned explosion, it was easy for some organisations to be sidetracked.
Yes, we must all be safe, but so often corporations can be blind to the place buildings like Didcot’s ‘three ladies’ have in people’s hearts.
Other demolitions of towers at sites – like the one in Richborough, Kent – haven’t seemed to have drummed up quite such a storm of health and safety nonsense where the operation had to be done at a ‘secret’ time.
That aside, Didcot’s towers were more than giant industrial structures pumping out power to homes. They were a symbol of Didcot itself. Immortalised on canvas, in photographs, and – for the more daring among us – even through tattoos. For some the towers were an ugly blot on the landscape. For many others, the towers meant home. Once in sight, they were not far from the warm welcome of their families.
The power station itself provided thousands of jobs for the area. Men and women toiled away beneath the structures’ dominating frames, earning money for their families, building their trade, taking pride in their work.
The incredible turnout for the early morning demolition only proves the towers sit as sturdily in people’s hearts as they once did on the power station site.