The implosion of “Athlone’s Two Old Ladies” as the Cape Times described them recently (thus terrifying half the elderly population of that suburb) will take place at noon on Sunday. These “Two Old Ladies” in question are the cooling towers at the now defunct Athlone Power Station which are in a poor state of repair and need to come down before they fall down.
Although looking at the cold front forecast to come through on Saturday, they might have left it a bit late.

The Athlone cooling towers sit right next to the N2 and are a Cape Town landmark which will be sorely missed. In these respects, they are almost completely undissimilar to the Tinsley Cooling Towers in Sheffield, which were next to the M1 and were a Sheffield landmark which is sorely missed (by some people, at least).
Those towers came down in a dramatic nighttime demolition process in August 2008 (at 3am on the 24th, to be exact – almost 2 years to the day before Cape Town’s tribute act)  and which was more than ably captured by flickr user Julia Parsons (aka wsogmm) and gives us some indication of what we might expect to see on Sunday.

At first, the towers are standing up (that’s them on the left there).

Then they fall down.

So that’s: Standing up. Falling down. Up. Down. Got it?
It’s not rocket science. In fact there are no rockets involved at all. Which is a shame.

The next big question is – where are you going to watch the towers come down from? Based on the fact that the population of Cape Town is approximately 3.5 million, and about 100% of those people want to watch, it’s my guess that the the main vantage sites are going to be rather busy.
Thankfully, the big man upstairs (cough) was thoughtful enough to provide a ready made grandstand for the spectacle in the form of Table Mountain. Regrettably, he failed to consider the provision of adequate parking or indeed decent weather for the occasion – albeit that the demolition guys will be delighted with the light rain forecast for Sunday.

Me? I have my own little idea on a secret location from which to observe this defining moment in the history of Athlone’s skyline, but if you think I’m sharing that little idea with you before the big day, you can think again.

UPDATE: Incoming from my Dad – the video…

which confirms the standing up – falling down routine in real time motion picture goodness.

UPDATE 2: WIN R1,000 just by taking a photo.

Leave a Reply