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New Walk Centre: A look inside the buildings as they were rigged up with explosives ahead of demolition


The spectacle of New Walk Centre's demise was brief but preparations for the levelling of the structures were lengthy and complicated.

It took months to clear the buildings and strip them down to their basic skeletons.

It also took a week of meticulous planning to set up rainbow-coloured spider's web of more than 7,000 metres of wires and cables, connecting detonators and some 1,100 explosive charges across the two buildings.

After both blocks had been rigged to blow contractors from DSM invited the Mercury into New Walk to take a final look at the doomed towers.

Heavy black curtains had been put up on the outside if the towers where ever charges had been laid. They left sections of the concrete skeletons of the structure in almost total darkness and served not only to protect the charges from the elements but to prevent rubble being blasted out and damaging nearby properties - the closest just metres from the complex's old B Block.

The curtains also kept out prying eyes.

Final preparations included a visit from counter-terrorism officers to make sure the massive undertaking ticked stringent security requirements.

So strict were the security arrangements that the Mercury had to agree not to publish a word about what it saw inside the demolition site until two hours after the towers were down.

Parts of the towers were weakened and the charges to blow a wedge out of the structures ensuring they collapsed in on themselves within their own footprint.

DSM explosive engineer Robin Rushforth said: "Just before the demolition is not really the worrying part. The worrying part is when you first walk through the building and think "How on Earth an I going to bring you down?"

"This was a difficult one because we had the old building plans but it quickly became clear they didn't match what had actually gone up.

"But there's always a way once you have done your calculations.

"A lot of people still think it is a simple as piling up a load of dynamite at the bottom, getting everybody out, pressing down the big plunger and it's goodbye building.

"No, this is a precise and detailed process."  

New Walk Centre: A look inside the buildings as they were rigged up with explosives ahead of demolition

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