Crowds witnessed the end of an era as diggers moved in to tear down the first of almost 100 post-war homes in a village near Sheffield.
The first of the bungalows – known as Tarrans – in Eckington was bulldozed in the start of a £10.5-million council refurbishment scheme to provide new modern homes.
Number 17, The Bungalows, was demolished after an official turf-cutting ceremony. Residents watched as the building was pulled down, before they enjoyed a community celebration at Eckington Friendship Hall.
North East Derbyshire District Council and Rykneld Homes are demolishing the homes – which they say are defective, have structural problems and are hard and expensive to heat.
But the homes, built from concrete panels, have fostered a strong neighbourly spirit over the years.
Grandma Mary Greaves, who has lived in a Tarran bungalow on Pitt Street with husband David for eight years, said: “It is the end of an era. There were so many people. One or two of them who have been here a long time had tears in their eyes.
“It didn’t go down as quickly as we thought it would, it took at least 15 minutes. You could hear it crunching.”
About 130 new houses will be created on the Tarrans sites – off Pitt Street and Pipeyard Lane in Eckington, and Sheffield Road in Killamarsh – with the first homes ready by the end of the year. The work will be carried out in phases, with the majority of tenants moving from their old house into a modern one.
Coun Nigel Barker, Rykneld Homes chairman, said: “While it will be sad to see a piece of history laid to rest, tenants are looking forward to having modern, warm homes with all the facilities they need.”
The project has captured the interest of documentary-maker Elisabeth Blanchett, who is following the change by pulling together a national archive on Tarrans homes.
History groups are also working with the council to preserve two properties and create ‘living museums’.