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Home Sweet Home

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It's always good to crack something new in your home town. Particularly when it's been as long in waiting as this one has.

As a lover of all things high, I'm ashamed to admit that until recently I'd not managed to top a single building on home turf. Truth be told I'd never bothered trying. The reason being that in terms of urban landscape, Doncaster is pretty uninspiring. The towns skyline is distinctly low-rise, with only a handfull of buildings reaching higher than the chimney pots. That small number is soon to become even smaller as Doncaster is set to lose one of its tallest buildings, known locally as 'Coal House'.

This typical 1960's office block was built to be the area headquarters of the National Coal Board, located in Doncaster due to its centrality to the South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire coalfields.

With the decline of the coal industry, the NCB eventually moved out and the borough council moved in, imaginatively renaming the building 'The Council House'.


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In 2010 the council announced plans to move their staff to a new purpose built civic office and council chamber. This would be phase 1 of Doncasters masterplan for a new 'Civic & Cultural Quarter' which will also see the demolition of the old Coal House. Since these plans were first announced, Muttley and myself have been playing the waiting game. A few weeks ago the council finally vacated and the demolition contractors moved in to begin stripping out the interior. Our wait was over.

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At around 40 metres tall it's no skyscraper, but it's been a local landmark for nearly fifty years, only surpassed in height by the towns nineteenth century minster and a couple of tower blocks. Don't get me wrong, it won't be missed once it's gone. It's an eyesore, but it's one I needed to top out.

Props to Muttley for keeping a close eye on this one. It's taken months of waiting, multiple walk-by's, and two failed attempts, but we cracked it in the end.

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We think of those nights spent with one or more friends, nights when we merged with the shadows and could see the world with eyes that were not our own.


Whipplesnaith - The Night Climbers of Cambridge (1937)