Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bulldozers Sock It to the Rocket; Demolition Begins on Towering Landmark

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Bulldozers Sock It to the Rocket; Demolition Begins on Towering Landmark

Article excerpt

Byline: KATIE DAVIES

BIT by bit one of Tyneside's most recognisable landmarks starts to disappear. Demolition has finally begun of the Dunston Rocket in Gateshead - changing Tyneside's skyline for ever.

Workers have spent the past 10 months stripping out the interior of the Owen Luder-designed tower block.

But yesterday work to bring the 30-storey block to the ground began, to make way for homes, shops, and community facilities.

And the Derwent Tower, as it's officially known, which has dominated Gateshead since 1973, is expected to be flattened by the summer.

The work follows the demolition of Gateshead's Get Carter Car Park, also designed by Luder and made famous by the 1971 Michael Caine film, which was pulled down last year.

And as contractors began work to bring down the 30th floor, Coun Mick Henry officially started the demolition process.

The Chronicle was given access to the landmark, which has been empty since all tenants moved out in 2007.

Corridors which once echoed with the voices of 1,300 tenants coming and going, were deserted, while lifts going up and down the 280ft high structure have been stripped.

And these pictures could be the last taken from the top floor of the building where former Newcastle star Paul Gascoigne played football in its shadow. Coun Henry, leader of Gateshead Council, said: "The housing in this block was poor and people didn't want to live here anymore. The tower has been a major feature of Tyneside's skyline but it didn't meet the modern needs of residents.

"In 2007 we decided to move people out and relocate them to other areas in the borough so we could transform the area.

"It is a difficult time in the construction industry but we are getting on and doing things. It has took a while to get here but things that involve people's lives do take some time."

Due to the size of the tower, contractors are using two remote-controlled machines to break up the structure's concrete from the top down. …

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