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Bombed Out!, The Rich Kids and Ghosts of Princes in Towers.

Bombed Out!, The Rich Kids and Ghosts of Princes in Towers.

Above Photo: One Down, One (Refuses) To Go. (Photo: James Maloney)

The Rich Kids play live in 1978. Glen Matlock, Midge Ure, Steve New.

The Rich Kids play live in 1978. Glen Matlock, Midge Ure, Steve New.

I was amused to see the botched demolition job done a while back on two blocks of flats in Seaforth, Liverpool, which became a viral news item worldwide on account of a video showing the explosions failing to topple one of them (see below).

Glen matlock the rich kids burning sounds ghosts or princes in towers Liverpool 1960s tower blocks failed demolition rimrose valley country park Crosby seaforth docks cranes urban silhouettes punk and new wave music memoir bombed out brownmoor estate

The ironically-titled chapter from Bombed Out! The three distant structures are identified in the below photo. (Click to enlarge).

My interest in this episode was because both blocks of flats receive a mention in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, as well as their own New Wave music chapter heading, referencing a track by former Sex Pistol Glen Matlock’s band, The Rich Kids.

Glen matlock the rich kids burning sounds ghosts or princes in towers Liverpool 1960s tower blocks failed demolition rimrose valley country park Crosby seaforth docks cranes urban silhouettes punk and new wave music memoir bombed out brownmoor estate st Thomas of Canterbury church seaforth

Crappy photo taken by me in the early 1980s from the Back Field. 1 denotes the towers, 2 is St Thomas of Canterbury Church and 3 shows the cranes at Seaforth Docks. Back then I didn’t have a camera good enough for night shots (nor would I ever have thought I’d want or need one in years to come…)

These two tower blocks were always in sight when I went on my late-night, usually introspective walks along the Back Field (now more poshly-named Rimrose Valley Country park) and along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The giant cranes at Seaforth Container Docks were also a memorable part of that silhouetted night-time panorama.

Glen matlock the rich kids burning sounds ghosts or princes in towers Liverpool 1960s tower blocks failed demolition rimrose valley country park Crosby seaforth docks cranes urban silhouettes punk and new wave music memoir bombed out brownmoor estate st urban landscape whabbs tip

The towers up close and personal.

The two 1960s buildings were stoically named Churchill House and Montgomery House, although some local residents had nicknamed them the Heroin Towers by the time they were demolished. They were supposed to be demolished by simple controlled explosions, but resisted the first attempt.

Glen matlock the rich kids burning sounds ghosts or princes in towers Liverpool 1960s tower blocks failed demolition rimrose valley country park Crosby seaforth docks cranes urban silhouettes punk and new wave music memoir bombed out brownmoor estate 1960s 1970s liverpool urban landscape blown up

Neighbouring gardens flattened in botched demolition job. (Conor Ainsworth)

Churchill House finally collapsed on the second explosions, but Montgomery House resisted three attempts to blow it up, and was eventually torn down by the biggest excavator in Europe.

Glen matlock the rich kids burning sounds ghosts or princes in towers Liverpool 1960s tower blocks failed demolition rimrose valley country park Crosby seaforth docks cranes urban silhouettes punk and new wave music memoir bombed out brownmoor estate 1960s 1970s liverpool urban demolished unemployed in 1980s liverpool

A huge excavator finally finishes the job. (Gavin Trafford)

Needless to say, nearby local residents initially evacuated for a couple of hours and unable to return to their homes for days, were less than impressed with this bungled demolition (see video below).

Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php

Immediately below is a live version of the Rich Kids’ Ghosts of Princes in Towers, with Ultravox’s Midge Ure singing – this is the best thing I’ve ever seen him perform on, as he later went on to destroy one of my all-time favourite bands, Ultravox by commercialising them to death, and I’ve never really forgiven him. (Petty, me; I know….)

This You Tube video shows the demolition and failed demolition from different angles:

 

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or signed paperback copies from:
News From Nowhere, Bold Street Liverpool; Waterstones, Liverpool 1 or Pritchards, Moor Lane, Crosby.

 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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