Goodbye Killingworth Towers

Chorus
So it’s goodbye Killingworth Towers
You should never have been built at all
There’ll be plenty of cheers and not many tears
When Alcatraz begins to fall

In the sixties planners had dreams
To build cities high in the skies
A shortage of land, was why they were planned
And they became known as ‘high rise’                                          Chorus

They built those tall concrete blocks
With walkways in the sky too
Up there in the gales you’d be over the rails
The day they were built we all rue                                                Chorus

The architects won an award
For this blot on our landscape
But they didn’t dare to try to live there
A ghetto for muggings and rape                                                    Chorus

But there’s on thing that’s puzzling me
I just can’t understand
Why even try to build up to the sky
In the North where there’s plenty of land                                   Chorus

Music & lyrics by Wilf Mitford

Credits: From the album That’s Northumbria, Recorded and Produced by Martin Hoile at the Cluny Studio, Newcastle upon Tyne in Oct ’87.  Vocals & Guitar, Wilf Mitford

When the Killingworth Towers were first built in the late 1960s / early 1970s they were considered award winning architecture, designed to create closer vertical communities.  By 1987 not only was that dream over but most local residents were happy to see the building demolished.  The elevated walkways designed to encourage social interaction instead became the hang out of antisocial behaviour. Residents viewed it more as a prison. After demolition was announced in February 1986, the work started on 1st June 1987 and the Journal newspaper the following day went with the headline “Rapid fall from grace” and stated “few tears will be shed”.  

This song from Wilf encapsulates the sentiment at the time of the demolition and once again demonstrates how Wilf turned local news stories into song.  It featured on the Mitford Family’s first album That’s Northumbria and was reprised on Geordie Greats Volume 2.

You can read more about the towers & see photos in local news archives or the following websites;

https://learning.knoji.com/concrete-city-killingworth-new-town/
https://co-curate.ncl.ac.uk/killingworth-towers/
https://www.somethingconcreteandmodern.co.uk/building/killingworth-towers/

Killingworth Towers
Images from the Something Modern & Concrete Archive, copyright Dr Miles Glendinning and Professor Stefan Muthesius https://www.somethingconcreteandmodern.co.uk/building/killingworth-towers/

Goodbye Killingworth Towers by Wilf Mitford is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://mitfordmusic.wordpress.com/.

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