Going…going…gone
Friday 4th April 2014 @ 06:00 by Max Wieland
Community
OOPS: A workman attempts to remove brickwork and make the building safe, only to be left watching helplessly as the frontage collapses.

OOPS: A workman attempts to remove brickwork and make the building safe, only to be left watching helplessly as the frontage collapses.

OOPS: A workman attempts to remove brickwork and make the building safe, only to be left watching helplessly as the frontage collapses.

OOPS: A workman attempts to remove brickwork and make the building safe, only to be left watching helplessly as the frontage collapses.

OOPS: A workman attempts to remove brickwork and make the building safe, only to be left watching helplessly as the frontage collapses.

OOPS: A workman attempts to remove brickwork and make the building safe, only to be left watching helplessly as the frontage collapses.

A historic Ashton town centre building which was once home to the poet Francis Thompson has collapsed.

The famous poet was best known for his work ‘Hound of Heaven’ which was published in 1893.

A blue plaque was mounted in his honour on the front of the building before its dramatic collapse last Thursday.

The privately owned building has not been used for some time and collapsed after a contractor attempted to make safe a portion of the building’s brickwork.

Police had already closed Stamford Street around the building after reports about falling debris and bricks.

But it was only when the workman moved in and began to work on the front of the building from a cherry picker that the dramatic collapse occurred.

The work was being filmed at the time and the workman’s lucky escape caught on camera.

That film footage was posted on the internet and can be viewed by visiting our website at http://www.tamesidereporter.com/reporter/?p=1590 however, the film prompted a statement from the Institution of Structural Engineers this week.

Sarah Fray, Director of Engineering and Technical Services for the Institution, said: “The Institution of Structural Engineers is issuing this statement after a number of incorrect reports stated the collapse was caused by an engineer.

“We have established with Building Control that the man pictured in the video was not a qualified engineer.

“Structural engineers are highly trained professionals and the trusted guardians of public safety: if a qualified structural engineer had been appropriately consulted, a collapse triggered in this way could have been prevented.”
Although the building’s collapse has left the town centre building unrecognisable, the blue plaque created in Francis Thompson’s memory was rescued safely.

It reads: Francis Thompson 1859-1907.

“The Poet of Catholicism” moved to the address with his family in 1864 and lived there until 1885.

– You can read more on this story in the current edition of the Tameside Reporter (April 3).