ON SUNDAY October 21 , 1979, the Bradford skyline changed dramatically.

The 300ft-high chimney at Bradford Power Station in Valley Road came crashing to the floor within seconds, disappearing in great clouds of dust.

Watched by crowds of people, the controlled demolition of the colossal chimney left the skyline looking strangely empty.

The T&A - then a broadsheet - reported the event in Monday morning’s paper, telling readers that just before ten o’clock the chimney ‘stood out brightly in the sunlight - four seconds later it had gone and a pall of dust rose slowly from where it had been laid to rest.’

It recorded ‘In perfect autumn weather, thousands of people turned out for Bradford’s shortest free show ever.’

The report told how roads around the area were choked with traffic ‘for a good hour before the well-known landmark came down to earth with a bump.

‘In a military-style operation, everything went according to plan after three weeks of careful, meticulous preparation.

‘It was, said Mr John Mulliner, who was in charge of the demolition, a unique occasion. Never before had a reinforced concrete chimney, perched on top of a similarly constructed office block, been brought down.’

The 34-ft square base was packed with 350 charges made up of 30kg of special gelatine.

‘Only three people were in the firing party which stood at what appeared to be an alarmingly short 100 metres away - Mr Mulliner, his brother Kevin, who was the shot firer, and Mrs June Powell, who had won a raffle and was claiming her prize for blowing the whole thing up,’ reported the paper.

‘It was fantastic, it gave me a marvellous sense of power’ said 25-year-old Mrs Powell, of Deanwood Crescent, Allerton, ‘I would love to do it again’.

The T&A reporter who covered the memorable event was David Warner, accompanied by photographer Paul Bentley.

Among the spectators that day was T&A reader Ray Banyard, who went along camera in hand.

“I went along with my friends and colleagues from Nelson Street Fire Station. It was very dramatic. There was a bang and then all the dust flew out from the side of the chimney. It wasn’t too noisy, just one bang,” he says. "I could see pieces of rubble flying out among the dust.

“I took a lot of pictures and am very glad that I had the opportunity to get them.

"It is a piece of Bradford’s history. A lot of people will remember it. The chimney was so tall - people used to say it was taller than Lister’s Mill chimney.”

He adds: “It was the first municipally-owned power station in the world and Bradford Corporation was eager to explore its potential for powering the tramways.”

The T&A report concluded with mention of the Middlemiss brothers from Guisleley, whose raffle ticket must have been chosen first and who were going to be charged with the task of blowing up the chimney, until it was found that they were too young.

‘Giles, seven, and Glen, six, were each given teddy bears by Baildon Round Table, who had organised the raffle.

Bradford Power Station - also known as Valley Road Power Station - was an electricity generating site. The foundation stone was laid in 1896 and the station opened in 1897.

The power station consumed 200 tonnes of coal each day which resulted in over 3,000,000 gallons of water being used in the processes.

Coal was transported into the site via a conveyor system located on the railway sidings in Valley Road.

Nearby stood 12 unusual cooling towers, made from wood, and built by a local firm Davenport.

The towering power station chimney was supposed to vent smoke from the plant away from the valley floor which was already heavily polluted by industries burning low carbon coal.

Prior to the power station being built, the city had a small a small generating site on Bolton Road. Operated by the Bradford Corporation, its opening in 1887 made the authority the first municipal supplier of electricity in the UK.

The first conversion of an urban tramway system from horse to electric power was in Bradford in 1892, supplied from Bolton Road.

In 1889, the power from Bolton Road was used in the private homes of 43 consumers. By 1960, the power station on Valley Road was supplying electricity to more than 134,000 homes across the city.

A new turbo power generator was installed on the site in 1930. It was unveiled by, and named after, Princess Mary. This made Bradford Power station the most powerful generating concern under local authority control at that time.

The power station was extended in 1939 and again in 1947, before closing in 1976. The site is now home to commercial and industrial units.

*Were you at the chimney demolition that day? We would like to hear your memories. Email: helen.mead@newsquest.co.uk