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THE TRANSMISSION GALLERY

THE FALL AND RISE OF EMLEY MOOR

EYE-WITNESS ACCOUNTS by KEITH HARTLEY and JOHN SKRYTEK

Photos by Keith Hartley

Keith Hartley and John Skrytek were both uniquely placed to offer to complementary insights into the aftermath of the Emley Moor mast collapse...
Keith was the TV Service Manager at a company in Dewsbury. John was a young 18-year-old member of the Polish construction gang employed by JL Eve.

Keith:
Around this time work was being carried out on the UHF transmitter causing small periods of time when things went dead, this work usually was carried out in the morning so we did not think much about it when it went off but when our phone went mad with people reporting faulty TV sets, our answer was to hang on and it would sort its self out BUT within 15 minutes we noticed a caption on VHF (from the other mast) stating that the mast at Emley Moor had collapsed. Can you imagine the comments from our customers when we repeated this to them after they reported a fault? In fact a few were rather blunt with their replies!

To try and get to the bottom of this I looked up the details of one of our customers who just happened to be the warden at the church at the base of the tower, he also lived next door to it, he confirmed this was true and could we help him out with a TV set that would work on VHF?!

Within 10 minutes I was hot-foot up to Emley Moor to deliver a TV and have a look for myself, but unfortunately the whole area was blocked off by the police, also it was dark. 

After making a call to the warden from a local call box he walked down to the police point and I was granted access to his house (about 50 yds from the mast base) we fitted the TV up and arranged with both him and the police to call up the following day to swap the TV set for a better one.

At around midday I arrived with my camera. I was allowed access without trouble and after a suitable time to change the TV (and have a cup of tea) the warder and I were able to gain access to the site without any problems and, as you will see, some of the pictures are so detailed and taken from within feet of the damaged mast.

 
Emley Moor
The slide showing the church shows the cable slicing the roof down the centre and ripping the church in half. I was able to gain access to the church but unfortunately the slides have faded with time and are unviewable, but all I can say is that it was a mess and looked as if a bomb had exploded inside the church. The wire had cut through roof, wall, pews and the church fabric and even 24 hrs later the blocks of ice remaining were so large that if they had hit you they would have killed you. The warden said that he was lucky because he was in the church 30 minutes earlier and his wife had called him in for his tea. Suddenly the floor shook and he also heard this strange noise - bangs and crashes that appeared to go on for ever (actually a few seconds).  
Emley Moor

He assumed that an aeroplane had hit the mast (The mast is in direct line with the flight path into Manchester airport). He said that all week there were bangs and crashes as ice fell off the tower and the guy wires twanged and whistled in the wind. All day there were strange noises coming from the mast but by now he was used to strange noises from above disregarded them. All he could do was to close his eyes and wait for the end!

But surprise, this did not happen and when he went outside, after waiting for the air to clear he was surprised what he saw, this big pile of scrap iron.

 

Emley Moor

Emley Moor

Emley Moor

 

John:
As a young man of 18 years old I was employed by JL Eve Construction, as was my father and a number of others from Poland. I was probably one of the youngest steel erectors at that time. We arrived at Emley the day after it came down - not a very nice sight I must say! There were lots of people about including security guards with dogs who probably trying to stop people coming and taking scrap, especially the feeders which, as you know were all Copper.

Emley Moor

Emley Moor

Emley Moor

Emley Moor

Emley Moor

Page 2 >

Emley Moor index | Emley Gallery index | Info index

 
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