COOLING TOWER COLLAPSE
ADDED 10 JANUARY 2006
was interested to read the correspondence on the Ferrybridge Cooling
Towers Collapse in the January issue of the Digest magazine.
the time, I was Publicity Manager at Pollard Bearings in Ferrybridge and
my department was situated in Riversdale House (subsequently demolished
and replaced by the Computer building). On the late morning of 1st
November 1965 - a very bright but extremely windy day - I was returning to
Riversdale from the main office looking directly at the colling towers and
noticed what I thought was a peculiar shadow on one of the towers. I
quickly realised that it wasn't a shadow but the jagged edge of what
remained of the first tower to fall.
my late father, Claude Battye, and my late elder brother, Ted Battye,
worked on the cooling towers site and I was naturally alarmed as to
their safety. I immediately went to the site in my car, but was stopped
by security people from entering. On explaining my concern for my
father and brother, I was told that everyone had been accounted for and
had been sent home. I then went
directly to my father's house and received his account of events.
was the Wages Officer for the contractors (Kiers I believe), and was in
his office, aware of the extremely high wind with loose items being
blown around and a loud noise as the wind swirled between the towers.
Suddenly his door was flung open and one of the workers shouted to him, 'Get
out Claude, the towers are coming down'. (At that time I think
only the first tower had collapsed, the others fell later in the day)
He ran out to where the rest of the site workers were gathered,
located my brother and after a head count went home.
the first tower fell, my brother, Ted, a steel fixer was working on
another part of the site. The reason there were no fatalities or
serious injuries he explained, was that there were no workers either on
or inside the tower at the time and when it fell it imploded, with all
the massive chunks of concrete, etc. falling inside the tower.
a postscript to the events of that memorable day, a few days later, in
much calmer weather, again walking to my office and looking at the
remaining complete towers, I noticed what looked like small objects on
the top of one of them. Then one of the 'objects' moved and
bent down , and I realised that they were 'steeplejacks'
walking on the rim of the tower inspecting it for damage. I
marvelled at how anyone could have the nerve to do such a job at such a
10 January 2006