SPECTATORS gathered to watch yesterday as three 100m towers were demolished at a nylon plant which once employed thousands of people.

Two disused cooling towers and a concrete stack on the former ICI Nylon works at the Wilton International Site, in east Cleveland, were demolished using controlled explosions.

During its heyday in the 1970s, thousands of people were employed by ICI at the Nylon plant.

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It was sold to DuPont in 1993 and is now owned by Invista, although it closed in 2009.

The demolition took place at about 11.30am and the nearby A1053 was temporarily closed between the Greystone Roundabout and the West Gate roundabout, where the road joins the A66, to ensure safety.

Former employees of the Nylon works were believed to be among spectators who gathered on nearby Eston Nab and on the West Gate roundabout to watch the towers, built in 1955, come down.

Sembcorp Utilities, the company which runs the Wilton site, appointed contractors to control the demolition and sent out more than 20,000 letters warning nearby residents and visitors of possible disruption, including noise and dust.

Jim Wilson, public relations manager for Sembcorp, said: “The work was completed safely and successfully.

“The site, working in conjunction with the police and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, agreed in advance to temporarily halt traffic movement on a number of roads on the western side as a precaution, bearing in mind the possibility of visual distraction to motorists.”

The works, on land belonging to the now obselete regional development agency One North East, and now owned by the Government, is being cleared before it is marketed as a development opportunity.

Work on ICI’s Nylon plant began in 1955 and it was operational two years later.

Invista closed the works, along with its adipic acid plant at Wilton, in 2009, with the loss of 300 jobs.