• Nash Peake Works,Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 5BT England


In September 2010 Rafferty’s successfully tendered for the complete demolition of the iconic 55m high Boddingtons brick chimney in Manchester city centre. To be involved in the demolition of the Boddingtons brick chimney would always be done with a slight grievance by anyone associated with the steeplejack industry, as grand chimney structures such as this are now very few and far between. However, with all nostalgic feelings aside and the demolition unavoidable, we were delighted to be awarded with this high profile task.

Due to the densely populated location of the chimney, Rafferty’s 62 years of experience within the steeplejack industry was put to the test to ensure that the chimney was demolished safely, with minimal risk and no disruption to the general public. The method chosen by Rafferty Steeplejacks was to demolish the full height of the chimney in a piecemeal fashion, depositing all demolition rubble down the inside of the stack.

To provide safe and suitable access for the demolition, a moveable band modular frame scaffold deck was installed directly below the ornamental string course brickwork at the 45m level. Tubular scaffolding was then erected to the termination point to completely envelope the top 10m of the stack. Micro netting was installed at each scaffold lift to ensure that no demolition debris would become airborne and fall to ground level externally. With all scaffolding and safety equipment in position, the demolition could commence.

The Boddingtons brick chimney had three steel liners which ran throughout the full height of the brick structure internally. Therefore, before any brickwork could be demolished, the three steel liners had to be removed first. To remove the internal liners required the use of a 200 ton mobile crane. The crane would initially take the entire weight of each liner from the termination point of the chimney. The steel liner would then be hoisted approximately 10m above the termination point where it would then be supported. Once the liner was supported it would then be cut throughout its full circumference to enable the 10m section to be safely lowered to ground level. This process would be repeated until the full height of each liner was completely removed.

Once the internal liners were dismantled then the demolition of the external brick structure could proceed. However, the original designers and builders of this grand structure would not make life easy for anyone wishing to demolish it as they decided to incorporate a 3.6m high cast iron head with a 1.5m oversail within the brick structure at the termination point. Due to the age of the chimney the cast iron head could not be removed as one section as there was a potential risk of it splitting. Therefore, it painstakingly had to be supported and dismantled in a piecemeal fashion to ensure that maximum safety prevailed throughout this contract. Once the cast iron head was removed then the chimney brickwork could be demolished. This again was done in a piecemeal fashion with all rubble being deposited down the inside of the chimney. The modular frame scaffold arrangement was lowered in conjunction with the demolition until the chimney reached a height of 20m. The final 20m of the chimney was demolished using a high reach machine, transforming the Manchester city skyline forever.

Rafferty’s 62 years of tackling high risk works at high level proved paramount on this contract, with the entire project being successfully undertaken to the complete satisfaction of the client and without any safety incidents or disruption to the general public. Our long history of successfully completing chimney projects throughout the UK and the World is why this Company has remained ‘At The Top Since 1949’.


Date: 2010
Location: Boddingtons Site, Manchester City Centre
Value: £