FEATURE: ‘Greyfriars Bus Station’s last act was a giant raspberry at Northampton’

Blowdown Day - Greyfriars Bus Station. NNL-150315-094702009
Blowdown Day - Greyfriars Bus Station. NNL-150315-094702009

The last act of the derelict Greyfriars bus station seemed to be a huge rasping raspberry at the entire town.

No, really. The draft that blew through the derelict structure just after detonation billowed the black plastic out like a great black tongue out of the Mouth of Hell.

Demolition of Greyfriars Bus Station NNL-150315-113033009

Demolition of Greyfriars Bus Station NNL-150315-113033009

The siren went off and the crammed balcony, like the Royal box of a theatre, held its breath.

Crack, crack, crack, crack, came the distant sounds of the explosion as pigeons scattered in alarm.

Then the bus station, for all the world the most immovable-looking building in the town centre, folded in on itself.

Whooshing outwards at first, the immense dust cloud coalesced and slowly began rolling towards us like an approaching snowstorm.

Blowdown Day - Greyfriars Bus Station. NNL-150315-104823009

Blowdown Day - Greyfriars Bus Station. NNL-150315-104823009

It took a full three minutes for the cloud to drift away enough so we could see what was left.

And out of the dust Northampton House emerged, bit by bit, followed by a few isolated columns of steel and concrete still standing.

Aside from these twisted remnants, there were two mountains of blasted concrete.

Greyfriars was no more.

Blowdown Day - Greyfriars Bus Station. NNL-150315-100300009

Blowdown Day - Greyfriars Bus Station. NNL-150315-100300009

But it was that last raspberry that sticks in the memory.

That would not be such a bad summary of the feelings of many who gathered at barriers at the bottom of Lady’s Lane.

Greyfriars stood as a huge symbol of defiance.

It was standing up to progress, almost a symbol of the warm, safe and familiar past.

A lick of paint was put forward as the solution so many times it has become a parodied cliche.

But it was clear the building was out-of-date and whatever the answer, something had to be done.

There are just as many people, however, that are glad to see the back of Greyfriars.

The leaking roof, the strange aromas, the dark cavernous insides like the belly of some huge, ailing beast.

All of these were reasons to say not just goodbye but good riddance to Greyfriars.

Whatever your feelings today, you cannot deny that the six seconds of drama is the loudest statement possible that the town is moving on.