A Glorius Past Bites The Dust

It took just seconds to wipe decades of industrial history from the Wigan skyline.

The two huge towers of Parkside Colliery disappeared from the landscape for ever.

Hundreds of people looked on as a flare went up at l0am yesterday, then two loud explosions were heard.

The concrete towers of Parkside crumbled to the ground to be replaced by a vast cloud of dust that billowed out for hundreds of yards before it settled.


The towers had dominated the Newton-le-Willows skyline since the late 1950s and their unglorious end was symbolic to the many of the thousands of former miners who worked under their shadows.

Their collapse marked the finale of the long and proud Industrial era of the Lancashire coalfield

The towers went down with the futile hopes that the pit, which closed with the loss of 700 Jobs in June 1993, could still be reopened in a new political climate.

Indeed, the fate of such a remote possibility had already been scaled when the mines' shafts were filled with thousands of tons of rocks earlier this year.

Sharlene Cullum, 16, of Wargrave Road, Newton, was one of a crowd of people who gathered at the redundant colliery to witness the event.

She said afterwards: "It went fast. I thought it would have taken longer to go down.

A lot of people started crying. My dad was so disgusted. He used to work there. My mum wouldn't even let me take a picture at first. She didn't want to see it go down."

She added: "They were the first thing you saw when you came off the motorway. You knew you were home then."

Another onlooker, Mr Barry Gannon of Cross Lane, Newton, helped to develop Parkside from 1962 to 1967. He said the event had "represented a lot of jobs".Former coal face worker Mr Andrew Birchall, 33, of Coppull Moor Lane, Coppull, near Chorley, was more specific. He said: "I turned out to say goodbye. It's symbolic. It's the end of the British coat industry. I had tears in my eyes."

"I expected it to come down quickly. I have got mining qualifications and I have studied explosives. It's very sobering to actually see it. "Every day I turned up there for eight years and watched guys go down the shaft. I have seen proud men, with wives and kids, being destroyed. It's terrible."



He said when he worked in the British coal industry, it wasn't about profit and money, it was about doing a job for the general good - an energy source.

"This is not just about the mining industry, this is symbolic of what they (the Government) have done to the working class".

The demolition was carried out by British Coal as part of the company's plans to turn the redundant land into a business park. Several firms have expressed an interest in the site.

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Large images; Going 1, Going 2, Gone