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Rushden Echo, 1st January 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

“Mining” at the Wharf Brickyard - Chimney Weighing 240 Tons “Shelled” to the Earth
Terrific explosions took place yesterday dinner time at the Higham Ferrers Wharf brickyard when the two chimney stacks were brought to the ground by means of a powerful explosive – cheddite. Although the affair was kept as secret as could be, a fair number of people were present to see the work accomplished.

The brickyard has been disused for a number of years, and the adjoining land has been unsafe owing to periodic land-slides. We understand that a Northampton firm of builders have purchased the whole of the bricks and Mr ... Cook, [poor copy - name obliterated] of Irthlingborough, was engaged to demolish the stacks. One was about 100 feet in height and the other 70 feet.

Mr Cook told a “Rushden Echo” representative that he estimated there were [68,000] bricks in the taller chimney, which probably weighed 210 tons. A portion of the brickwork at the bottom was broken away, leaving the column standing on “legs.” Into one side of these supports, Mr Cook placed charges of cheddite, connected to a magneto by a cable.

Some alarm was felt amongst the onlookers for the safety of the men working at the foot of the chimney, which appeared to be giving way. There was a very noticeable bend on the side facing the Wharf House, so that instead of the chimney presenting the recognised tree-trunk appearance, which is the safest design that can be used, one side was quite “plane” and the opposite “concave.”

However, the boring was performed successfully and a good wide berth given to the yard where the chimney was expected to fall. With a tremendous report, part of the brickwork was blown out, but owing to a mishap, the cable connected with another part of the supports failed to take the current to the cheddite and the chimney only rocked. Dangerous as the work now was, Mr Cook went down to the base of the column and re-connected the battery. After the second explosion the chimney toppled, and, falling in the soft ground, half buried parts of itself. The smaller chimney was similarly demolished.

It is about 20 years since the chimneys were erected. [this seems rather soon to be demolished?]

Mr Cook has gained a good reputation in this line, and has never had an accident. The method he uses is his own idea. The old method was to knock away as much brickwork as safety would allow and replace with wood, proceeding all round the base like that and then build a fire near the wood. The chimney would thus “settle” when the props were burnt.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 4th February 1938, transcribed by Kay Collins

Borough of Higham Ferrers – Demolition of Houses
The Council of the Borough of Higham Ferrers invite TENDERS for the DEMOLITION and CLEARANCE of the Houses and Buildings in Town Yard and Hind Style, Higham Ferrers, comprised in the Borough of Higham Ferrers Nos. 9, 10, and 11 Clearance Areas.

Specification and Forms of Tender may be obtained from Mr A E Lloyd, Borough Surveyor, Town Hall, Higham Ferrers.

Tenders, in sealed envelopes, endorsed “Demolition” to be returned to the undersigned not later than 12 o’clock noon on Wednesday the 23rd February, 1938.

The Council does not bind itself to accept any tender.

Dated this 29th day of January 1938.

F Joseph Simpson, Town Clerk
Town Clerk’s Office,
Higham Ferrers.

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