THOUSANDS of people lined the length of Southend's coastline today, gathering along the cliff tops, Thorpe Bay, Leigh and Two Tree Island, with an estimated 400 to 500 alone walking down to the end of Southend Pier, all to watch the historic moment of the Grain Power Station chimney being brought down. 

Despite the sunshine, the view of the 800ft tall chimney was dampened by mist.

At 11am, it took a matter of seconds for the Southend landscape to change forever, the chimney silently disappearing among a billow of smoke, with the sound of the explosion following several moments later as it travelled across the estuary from Kent.


The chimney became the tallest concrete structure ever to be demolished in the UK. It stood shorter than the 1016ft/310m Shard in London, but taller than Canary Wharf (771 ft/235m), taller than 55 double decker buses stacked on top of each other two and a half times the height of Big Ben.

Now it lies on the ground as 40,000 tonnes of concrete rubble.

On the end of the pier, amateur photographer Annie Lovejoy, from Westcliff, said: "I was amazed how long it took to hear the sound of the bang."

Mitch Thraves, from Leigh, was there there capture the moment on video.

He said: "We got here at 10:58am thinking nothing ever goes on time. A guy beside me was doing a countdown and I thought he was probably wasting his time, but lo and behold, exactly at 11am it came straight down.

"It took a while for the sound to travel across, which I think made you realise just how far away the chimney was."