26 August 2015


After a couple of weeks careful crunching behind the scenes, the big demolition contract on Blackhorse Road finally reaches the interesting stage, where you begin to see gaps behind the screen of plastic sheeting. This morning I watched as people came and went at the bus stop apparently unaware that overhead, a giant metal claw was pulling down one section of brickwork after another, accompanied by wrenching and crashing noises as the debris fell to the ground. I thought they might have to close the road for the last stage, but it's apparently so highly controlled that isn't necessary.

The building has been taken down layer by layer from the back, so that until now nothing seemed to change from the front, but from the car park next door there are no hoardings, and you can look over the fence and get a good view of the whole huge site, and the demolition machines in action. There are no wrecking balls nowadays: the biggest machine has a long hydraulic arm with pincers at the end, which can pull down brickwork effortlessly, crunch the concrete covering off the steel frame, crumble the concrete floors so they can be pulled out, and it can also cut the metal girders. All operated by one man, with another man hosing down the rubble to keep the dust down, and another vehicle that picks up the debris and sorts it into piles.

The whole site is being cleared. Pretty soon, this stretch of Blackhorse Lane will be looking unusually empty, opening up views across to Tottenham for anyone living over the shops. Although of course the new blocks that are going to be built there will be just as high.

Aerial view of the site showing the extent of demolition. The centre of the site is already cleared.

The warehouses on Hookers Road look like being the last to go.

The hollowed-out shell of Mandora House, once home to Inky Cuttlefish print studios and many small businesses.