ONE of Blackburn’s last brick mill chimneys was brought down yesterday by local steeplejacks Warburtons.

It took 45 minutes for the 140 foot, 350 ton cooling tower to fall to the ground after more than 140 years dominating the Feniscowles skyline.

The chimney was one of the last remaining parts of the Sappi Paper Mill which is to be turned into a 500 home housing estate with some commercial and industrial development.

It was built as part of the Star Paper MIll in 1975 later taken over and had originally been 245 feet high but was progressively reduced in height in the last century.

John Warburton, the 63-year-old owner of the Cherry Tree firm, said: “It was a real softie.

“We removed some of the bricks from one side and put in wooden ‘pit props’ before setting fire to them in the traditional way.

“The chimney came down really sweetly into the old mill yard, exactly where we wanted it to.

“It normally takes about 30 minutes to bring one down but because it was so wet it took 45 while the wood caught fire.

“This was my 101st demolition of a mill chimney.

“Its a bitter-sweet experience as we used to maintain them, including this one at Sappi.

“There are just half-a-dozen left including India Mill in Darwen which has a preservation order.

“It is the best in the borough and will remain.”

Livesey with Pleasington councillor Alan Cottam, who in the 1970’s was chief engineer at the nearby Sun Paper Mill, said: “It’s sad but inevitable.

“There must have been 150 of these brick chimney in Blackburn and Darwen at one time and there’s just a handful left.

“The ornate India Mill is the most iconic one remaining.

“There used be one brick chimney at Sun Mill and one at Sappi both 245 feet high, but now they are both gone.

“Nobody needs them any more.”