Glasgow to bring down the house in explosive Commonwealth Games opener

Friday, April 4th, 2014. Filed under: Destinations Health & Fitness Sports & Recreation
Former British cyclist Sir Chris Hoy (C) leads a procession of Commonwealth flags during the launch of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games baton relay at Buckingham Palace in London, on October 9, 2013. ©AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal

Former British cyclist Sir Chris Hoy (C) leads a procession of Commonwealth flags during the launch of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games baton relay at Buckingham Palace in London, on October 9, 2013.
©AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal

(LONDON-AFP) – Glasgow will celebrate the opening of the Commonwealth Games in July with the live demolition of five iconic tower blocks in the north of the Scottish city, officials said Thursday.

The 30-storey Red Road residential blocks, the tallest in Europe when they were built in the 1960s, had been earmarked for demolition for over two years but local authorities decided to send them out with a bang.

Experts will use 1.25 tonnes of explosives to bring down the flats in just 15 seconds, and the demolition will be beamed live onto a screen during the July 23 ceremony at Celtic Park stadium.

“It will be a ceremony like no other, showcasing our city’s unique style and personality and with our people and communities at its very heart,” said Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council.

“We are going to wow the world, with the demolition of the Red Road flats set to play a starring role.”

The flats were built between 1964 and 1969 and once housed 5,000 people, offering modern homes to families previously stuck in slum tenements.

But they have slipped into decline and were earmarked for demolition as part of a wider regeneration project, with two of the eight tower blocks already brought down.

Five of the remaining six will be demolished during the opening ceremony, while the sixth is currently used to house asylum seekers and will come down at a later date.

Residents of almost 900 homes living nearby will be evacuated during the demolition.

“Red Road has an iconic place in Glasgow’s history, having been home to thousands of families and dominating the city’s skyline for decades,” Matheson said.

“Their demolition will all but mark the end of high-rise living in the area and is symbolic of the changing face of Glasgow, not least in terms of our preparations for the Games.”

ar/dk/er

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