Dramatic shot of Ironbridge cooling towers demolition to star in exhibition

It was the end of an era when Ironbridge Power Station's four iconic cooling towers came tumbling down.

John Hayward with his picture of the demolition of the Ironbridge cooling towers
John Hayward with his picture of the demolition of the Ironbridge cooling towers

The cooling towers were torn down last December, with crowds coming out in force to watch from a safe distance as they crumbled in about eight seconds after a loud explosion.

Among them was John Hayward, of Shifnal, who climbed The Wrekin to capture his striking picture of the demolition.

He later submitted it to the Landscape Photographer of The Year awards and the 34-year-old was commended for his entry.

It will now be included in a three-month exhibition at London Bridge station, followed by a nationwide tour, and will also be published in a new book.

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John said: "Watching the towers come down last December was an amazing experience.

"I was standing on the summit of The Wrekin, about three miles away, and became concerned when it started to rain about 10 minutes beforehand.

"Fortunately the sun came out with just seconds to spare and it backlit the dust so that the towers stood out against Benthall Wood.

"The whole spectacle was over in seconds and it was truly the end of an era."

John is a professional landscape photographer and manages the Shropshire and Beyond photo library.

It publishes Shropshire greetings cards, calendars and jigsaws, and its second photographic book – Shropshire From Dawn to Dusk – was published in July.

WATCH the towers come down. Video by Telford & Wrekin Council:

John says his photo of the cooling tower demolition in particular attracted a lot of attention.

"This was one of the most popular pictures I’ve ever taken and it was used in most of the national newspapers," he added.

"It was great to be recognised by the judges in such a prestigious competition and I’m looking forward to visiting the exhibition.

"The book is called Landscape Photographer of the Year 13, and showcases all the winning and commended entries."

Following the demolition last year, for the first time in 50 years the cooling towers were no longer the dominant view on the Ironbridge Gorge eyeline.

The next stage of the demolition work took place in July when the site's Bunker Bay was raised to the ground.

A thunderous boom was heard for miles around as the controlled explosion took place, turning the building's frontage to dust before the remainder of the structure followed.

Harworth Group, the owner of the power station site, put a 250m blast zone in place shortly before, during and after the demolition and there was no public access, although residents watched on from nearby vantage points.

Homeowners with respiratory conditions were advised to stay indoors due to the dust created from the explosion.

The site has been earmarked for 1,000 homes, a retail and commercial centre and a primary school as part of a housing project which developer Harworth predicts could take up to 15 years to deliver.

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