Joy Division bassist takes sledgehammer to tower blocks
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Development, Local Government
The former bass player with cult band Joy Division stopped by to swing a sledgehammer at some tower blocks he once described as "rotten and horrible".
Peter Hook, who also played bass in New Order, paid a visit to his homeland of Salford to witness the £650 million regeneration scheme that is currently underway in Pendleton.
The three ageing tower blocks, made up of Peach, Pear and Apple Tree Court, were described by Hook in his book 'Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division' as “rotten and horrible, like a concrete wasteland” as part of his recollections of growing up in the area.
They were built during the 1960s as part of the Hanky Park slum clearance project.
In tribute to the music legend, who is now the frontman with The Light, his famous quote has been painted on to the side of Peach Tree Court as part of a community arts project and 'Hooky' was thrilled to take a sledgehammer to the building to mark the start of demolition and a new dawn for the area.
Hook said: “I spent most of my young life round here and I know a lot about its history. I never thought I’d get to see these tower blocks go up and then come back down again.
“I still spend a lot of time round here because lots of my friends still live here, so to see it being redeveloped is just fantastic. A lot of people in Salford thought that they got it wrong the first time around, so if it’s made right this time then that’ll just be the best thing ever for the community here.”
Earlier this month social housing provider Salix Homes handed over management of 1,250 homes in the area to Pendleton Together. The homes will undergo major refurbishment to bring them up to modern standards as part of the ambitious plans to create a new Pendleton.
The regeneration scheme, led by Salford City Council and supported by Salix Homes and Pendleton Together, will also see around 1,600 new homes built in Pendleton.
Joe Willis, chief executive at Salix Homes, said: “The demolition of the Orchard tower blocks marks the next stage in the creation of a bright new future for Pendleton.
“The area holds a lot of memories for Peter Hook so it’s been wonderful to bring him back and show him the progress that’s being made.
“The area is undergoing a major transformation and this is a very exciting time for residents. We have been working closely with our partners and residents for a long time to bring this regeneration project to fruition, so it’s wonderful to now be entering the next stage of this ambitious scheme which will breathe new life into Pendleton and make the area a much more attractive place to live and work.”
Paul Longshaw, programmes director for Creating A New Pendleton at the council, added: “Peter Hook is a great ambassador for his home city and has always been very proud of his roots. He understands the problems Pendleton has had and has seen them first hand over the years.
“When we asked him to launch the demolition, have a look at the long term improvements for the place and to see the proposals for the Salford Arts Theatre he was more than happy to get involved.
“He is supportive of the work that is taking place which will only help to make the existing community even more proud of where they live and that is clearly so close to Peter's own heart and soul.”
The panel of Peach Tree Court containing Hook's famous quote will be salvaged during the demolition process and will form part of a community arts project being led by Ordsall Community Arts in partnership with Salix Homes.