Demolition brings soup tragedy closure

steam accident campbellsFrom Lynn News 15/01/12:

In an emotionally-charged atmosphere, Lynn News competition winner Sarah Griffiths, 41, performed the honours to send Campbell’s Tower on its way this morning.

(Just in case it’s not clear, it was a competition which gave the winner the chance to press the plunger to raise the tower to the ground).

Bizarrely, the picture of the tower reminds me of an episode of Poirot called ‘The Dream’ about a pie factory owner, mysterious goings on and, well, all sorts of things. It’s too longwinded to explain, but I’m sure Poirot lovers will see the connection.

Mrs Griffiths had been married to husband Simon for just four weeks when her 52-year-old father was fatally scalded by a blast of steam while trying to close a huge pressure cooker-type machine at Campbell’s factory in July, 1995.

Mr Locke, who lived in Burkitt Street, Lynn, and colleague Jim Tripp were working on a 10ft high retort, used to sterilise cans and jars at Campbell’s. The inquest was told the retort lid would not close properly and Mr Locke was using a closing spanner when the blast occurred.

Half-an-hour before the detonation of one of Lynn’s most iconic landmarks, nose-to-tail traffic blocked Hardwick Road as spectators’ cars filled the Tesco supermarket and Pierpoint Retail Park car parks nearest to the Campbell’s Meadow site.

Oh, and guess what: the site is being cleared for a new Tesco Extra.

An estimated 3,000 people turned out to watch the last seconds of the tower, which had stood over the town for 52 years.

Crowds stood several deep on the pavements near the B&Q car park, alongside Hardwick Road and back towards the railway bridge.

Air horns sounded a five-minute warning and then again for the start of the ten-second countdown to the detonation. As the 150ft tower fell to earth in under five seconds, one on-looker (sic) said: “It was just like wallpaper coming down.”

“When I felt the thud as it hit the ground, everything felt complete. Now my family can move on and not live in the shadow of that building any longer.”

I first read about this story in the Metro earlier in the week and, I have to say, I was dubious whether pressing the ‘fire’ button could provide sufficient ‘closure’.  Still, grief is a personal thing and I suppose anything that helps the family move on from this tragedy has got to be good.   

Oh, and the removal of one more eyesore from the skyline can’t be a bad thing either.


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