The final days of Greyfriars bus station in Northampton saw the brutalist building stripped to a shell and primed with 2,200 sticks of high plastic explosives - the Chronicle and Echo can now reveal.
Pictures and video of the Chron’s last ever tour of the ‘mouth of hell’ on Tuesday, March 10, have been kept under a strict embargo until the building was exploded in yesterday’s spectacular demolition, so as not to attract intruders onto the site.
The eerie shots show the pitch black interior of the town’s once bustling transport hub cleared to the stage of an almost empty shell.
Its dated escalators, often the butt of jokes for breaking down regularly, were sheered off after only a few feet and a hole more than 100 metres in length had been hollowed out of the first floor to allow the building to collapse inwards.
More than 2,000 slim holes, some more than a foot in depth, had been drilled into the supporting structures and stuffed with what one engineer described as the ‘modern equivalent of a dynamite stick’.
Project manager for the demolition Billy Young, explained that around 2.2 kilometres of detonation wire, filled with a substance known as pentaerythritol tetranitrate, was used to rig all the explosives a central detonation device.
Empty boxes, which had contained explosives lined the former bus forecourt.
A criss-cross of steel cables had been rigged to the corners of the 20,000 tonne building to pull the building inwards as it collapsed.
“It’s a very impressive design,” Mr Young said after the Chron’s final viewing.
“It’s such a robust structure, one of a kind really.
“You can tell It was built to stand the test of time.”
After the last tour of Greyfriars, leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor David Mackintosh, said the experience was ‘eerie’.
When I think in the time I’ve known it Greyfriars has gone from being a bustling centre with lots of people working in and around the area.
“It’s just a shell now.”