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Video: Thousands gather to watch Campbell’s tower demolished in King’s Lynn

PUBLISHED: 12:59 15 January 2012 | UPDATED: 15:18 15 January 2012

The demolition of Campbell's tower, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The demolition of Campbell's tower, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

This was the moment Campbell’s tower in King’s Lynn was reduced to rubble after dominating the skyline for more than 50 years.

An estimated 3,000 people gathered to watch a controlled explosion of the iconic landmark, which has been demolished to make way for a new Tesco superstore.

There was applause, cheers and even screams when the ground shuddered and the tower collapsed with a thundering boom at 8am this morning (Sunday).

Demolition day couldn’t have come sooner for competition winner Sarah Griffiths, whose father died following a horrific accident at the factory 16 years ago.

Mick Locke, 52, was fatally scalded by a blast of steam in 1995 and the mum-of-two, from Clenchwarton, had mixed feelings as she pressed the detonator.

“It was an emotional release, especially the thud on the ground, it was like a finale,” she said. “I will feel better not having to see it all the time and so will all my family - it’s still very raw.

“We are having a celebration meal later and I’m going to go and have a chat with my dad down at the cemetery.”

Lynn civic society tried to get the tower listed in 2010, but English Heritage said the structure had no “special architectural or historic interest” and rejected the application.

Tesco’s plans for the site were approved by West Norfolk Council in November 2010 and it is thought the £40m Campbell’s Meadow project could bring up to 1,000 jobs to the area.

East Anglian firm RG Carter, which originally built the factory on the 63-acre site in 1959, has been carrying out the demolition work on behalf of Tesco.

The red and white tower once housed a pressure cooker used to make Campbell’s condensed soup, made famous by Andy Warhol in the 1960s.

It was the Campbell’s first UK base when it opened in the 1950s, employing hundreds of local workers. At its peak in the early 1990s, it had more than 700 workers.

See tomorrow’s EDP for full coverage of the historic event.

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