Going...going...gone. Watch as Edward Thompson paper mill chimney bites the dust

One of Sunderland's best-known landmarks is no more.


The chimney at the former Edward Thompson paper mill in Hendon was demolished this morning, using a controlled explosion.

John Thompson, of demolition firm Thompsons of Prudhoe, said the chimney had come down exactly as planned: "After weeks of very careful planning between Thompsons of Prudhoe, our client Sunderland City Council and the HSE, the chimney was brought down to ground using explosives successfully and exactly as planned.


"The A1018 Commercial Road was closed for approximately 15 minutes. There was around 5kg of explosives used, the chimney was 180ft high and the bricks weighed 1,390 tons."

Thompson’s produced more than 500 tons of paper a year at the plant for more than 20 years after taking it over following the departure of Canadian firm Domtar.

Paper making stopped 12 years ago but the company was still printing on the site until 2014, when the decision to close it was prompted by a jump in energy costs, with all manufacturing transferred to the Sheepfolds industrial estate.

Outline planning permission for development of the Hendon site was initially granted in 2011, with an application for 300 new homes, plus 6,000 sq metres of commercial or industrial space, and an application to demolish the plant was made last year.

The chimney stands alone after the rest of the site was cleared

Echo reader Stephen Pattison said: "My Nana used to live in Barbara Street that overlooks the paper mill. The mill originally had two chimneys - the two of them used to appear in the background of family photographs taken in the front garden of Barbara Street.

"I was born in 1961 and when I was young I remember the north chimney was dismantled brick by brick around 1975. I remember that a platform was attached to the chimney and men knocked the bricks with hammers and dropped the bricks down the inside of the chimney.

" I heard that a hole was knocked in the base of the chimney so the rubble could be removed. Once a section of the chimney had gone the platform was lowered down the chimney so the men could demolishing the next part.

"Once the north chimney had gone work started on the surviving south chimney, using the same method.

"However when the chimney reached the height it is now, the work stopped. I believe only a fraction of the top of this chimney went but I am not 100% sure of this as it was a very long time ago."

*Thanks to Thompsons of Prudhoe and readers Paul Hutchinson and Sue Hall for the videos