Kipling House and Byron House
The Tanhouse Lane Estate was developed in the 1960s by the local council for a development of houses and flats. The newly completed estate consisted of three multi-storey blocks of flats - Kipling House, Byron House and Chaucer House. Along with the rest of the homes on the estate, they were praised by residents on their completion for offering a far higher standard of living than the older properties which many of their occupants had been rehoused from.
By the 1980’s the flats were rundown, the council decided to remove Kipling and Byron Houses, keeping Chaucer House as it was smaller.
Some days in our lives are imprinted in our memory, Sunday 25th July 1999 was one such day. The date chosen to blow up the flats. It was a fine Sunday morning, crowds of people gathered at various vantage points to view the spectacle, we stood at the junction of Park Lane and Park Road.
The honour of pushing the button went to Mr George Skidmore who was the oldest resident of the Tanhouse Estate. There was a slight delay when a lady became ill and had to be airlifted by helicopter away from the scene, so the noon deadline came and went without anything happening.
Then there was a puff of smoke and more smoke from the first block as it sank slowly to the ground followed quickly by the second block with a great cloud of dust rising from the rubble, there was an eerie silence followed by clapping and cheering from the assembled crowds, the flats had disappeared into a pile of rubble in almost the blink of an eye.
Jill Guest August 2020
The Gallery and video below show the moment of their destruction.
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