RETRO: The day the Sheffield's Tinsley Towers fell

Retro has covered some of Sheffield's most controversial recent history of late, and the Tinsley Towers joined the list of bygone landmarks that many were sad to see the death of.

Tuesday, 29th March 2016, 08:48 am
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 05:27 am
The towers, built in 1938, in use

Built in 1938, the towers were once used as part of the Blackburn Meadows power station.

The power station, built to support Sheffield’s steel industry in 1921, closed in 1980.

The towers, built in 1938, in use

The towers could not be easily demolished, and instead were left standing, unused, for another 28 years.

In that time, they became a bit of a Sheffield landmark – and the inspiration for the above rather unusual wedding photograph.

Keith and Claire Clarkson’s first date was in Tinsley in the 1980s, when Keith was undertaking research on the wildlife around the derelict area.

When they married in 1986, the pair decided to use the towers for a backdrop in a snap of their big day.

An explosive end: the towers were brought down in 2008

Some 20 years later, when they learned of the towers’ impending demolition, they returned to the site and asked the same photographer, Mike Bellwood, to take an updated shot of the couple in front of the towers for their 20th anniversary, in 2006.

The towers were also used as part of filming for BBC docu-drama Threads, released in 1984, which depicted what might have happened if Sheffield was hit by a nuclear missile - one scene showed the Tinsley Viaduct being ‘blown up’.

Then, in 2008, the towers were blown up for real.

Despite a public campaign to save the towers, including ideas to transform them into other uses, including an art installation and a skate park, the towers were demolished in a controlled explosion on August 24, 2008 - although some of the north tower remained and had to be manually knocked down.

Keith and Claire Clarkson chose the Tinsley Towers for their wedding photo, taken by Mike Bellwood Photography

They may be gone, but Sheffielders won’t be forgetting the iconic towers any time soon.

What was once a familiar sight near Meadowhall
The towers were an imposing landmark behind Tinsley Viaduct
The towers, built in 1938, in use
An explosive end: the towers were brought down in 2008
Keith and Claire Clarkson chose the Tinsley Towers for their wedding photo, taken by Mike Bellwood Photography
What was once a familiar sight near Meadowhall
The towers were an imposing landmark behind Tinsley Viaduct