Comment – Didcot’s end draws closer…

…and why we won’t be showing it.

For some, it will mark the beginning of the end. For others, it will be merely the opening pages of a final chapter almost four years in the making; another painful reminder of an avoidable tragedy that unfolded to claim the lives of four working men back in February 2016.

In the early hours of 18 August, the remaining cooling towers that loom over the Didcot A Power Station site will be brought down in a controlled explosion by the team at Brown and Mason.
Although there is still the small matter of a large chimney to tackle later this autumn, Sunday’s implosion will further erase Didcot from the local skyline.

But it will do little to erase the memory of the boiler house collapse that claimed the lives of Ken Cresswell, John Shaw, Michael Collings, and Christopher Huxtable. For the families of those four men, this latest blast will merely stir up memories too horrible to contemplate. It will force them to relive a period of more than six months in which their loved ones lay undiscovered in the twisted wreckage of the partially collapsed boiler house. And it will mark a further development in a demolition process that has pressed ahead even while the investigation into the cause of the accident has dragged on endlessly and more painfully with each passing month.

It is to Brown and Mason’s credit that the company has chosen to carry out this latest blast in the early hours of the morning. This is not for public consumption. It is not a spectacle to plaster over social media. Rather, this is a further yet necessary desecration of a place where the lives of four working men were ended in an instant. will not be showing the blast for two key reasons.

The first reason is practical and logistical. When the team at Brown and Mason presses the button on Sunday, I will be bound for Cadiz in Spain without Internet access. The second reason is less easy to explain and is, I guess, purely emotional.

In July 2017, I chose not to broadcast the blast that felled the remaining portion of the stricken boiler house. After much consideration, I have chosen not to broadcast this one either. Like Lockerbie, Hungerford and a whole host of other places too long to list, the very name Didcot is now inextricably linked to a tragedy. I have no desire to draw Internet traffic based almost entirely upon infamy.

Of course, you will be able to watch it elsewhere. Given the media circus that has sprung up around Didcot, I am sure that the national and international TV channels will beam it live into your home if you so desire. I am certain that it will appear soon afterwards on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms.

I realise also that, by refusing to broadcast it, DemolitionNews will likely miss out on thousands and possibly tens of thousands of views; the very views that are the lifeblood of our platform.

But on 23 February 2016, four men paid the ultimate price for their presence within the UK demolition industry. By comparison, the loss of a few thousand views from semi-interested parties seems like a very small price to pay.