‘Mouth of hell’ building demolished

Published: Sunday 15th March 2015 by The News Editor

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A bus station nicknamed “the mouth of hell” has been demolished.

The unloved Greyfriars bus station in Northampton, an example of 1970s brutalist architecture, collapsed in seconds, creating a huge cloud of dust.

Warning sirens blared minutes before, car alarms went off as a result of the blast, and onlookers gasped as the massive building was enveloped in smoke.

More than 1,300 people watched it fall as it was livestreamed online, after Northampton Borough Council pleaded with spectators not to watch it in person.

David Macintosh, leader of the council, said: “It’s funny because in the last couple of months, people have said: ‘We will miss it.’

“It’s not very well-liked, and is now redundant. ‘The mouth of hell’ sums it up perfectly.”

It was described in the Lonely Planet guide as “infamously ugly”, and in 2005 it came third in a list of 12 buildings that should be demolished, voted for by the public for Channel 4 series Demolition.

Broadcaster Kevin McCloud coined its moniker “the mouth of hell” in the programme.

The Northampton Chronicle and Echo described how the building faced criticism soon after its opening in 1976, and a year later mineral stalactites began forming inside the building. There were also concerns for the safety of the structure after two people died when they were hit by buses inside the station in the 2000s.

A new bus station opened last year but it got off to a bad start when police were called in to direct traffic after queues of buses formed.

The three-storey building, which includes a car park and offices which have not been used for years, was reduced to rubble today by demolition specialist DSM.

The council set up an exclusion zone and evacuated 414 homes near the four-acre town centre site as a precaution.

The structure was costing taxpayers £500,000 in repairs every year, and the council claimed it would take almost £30 million to renovate. Its demolition is part of Northampton’s regeneration programme.

Alan Carr, who spent some of his childhood in Northampton, wrote on Twitter: “Is that smelly cafe still there in the basement in Greyfriars bus station? You’d see people dry heaving before they got on their buses.”

Published: Sunday 15th March 2015 by The News Editor

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