Residents say goodbye to their old tower block home

Chantry Tower Block demolition
Chantry Tower Block demolition

ONE of Sheffield’s last remaining 1960s tower blocks has been consigned to history. The 15-storey Chantrey block in Jordanthorpe, last used as social housing for pensioners, was blown up on Sunday.

Watching were some of the former residents, who have moved to the neighbouring White Willows sheltered housing complex, which is run by South Yorkshire Housing Association.

Former Chantry block residents

Former Chantry block residents

Steve Mettam, the council’s senior structural engineer for building standards, said: “We had a team of 50 people there to carry out the job, including 30 from contractor Demex.

“Everything went according to plan. We used 25 kilogrammes of explosives split into 300 separate charges. The building mostly collapsed within its site, although there was a small amount of debris in the car park of White Willows.

“It was quite a complex task to ensure there was no damage to surrounding buildings because White Willows is only six metres from Chantry Tower. We put up protection to shield the building. The rain helped because it kept the dust down.”

Chantrey – opened in 1967 and named after Sheffield-born sculptor Francis Chantrey –+ was the last of three blocks in Jordanthorpe.

Jordanthorpe resident Robert Sell, aged 55, said: “I’ve lived here since 1985 and saw them take down the other towers 10 years ago. They would have been quite nice when they were built but had become an eyesore.”

Cyril Edwards, aged 72, said: “When you saw the tower from the bus you knew you were close to home but it would have needed a lot of work on it to bring it up to modern standards.”

Residents of White Willows held a ‘Cheerio Party’ last Friday, demolishing a 43cm tall tower block cake and sharing photos and memories. SYHA is making a short documentary, which includes interviews with ex-residents and film of the demolition.