A Postcard from Red Road

The Morning After Demolition - Oct 2015

After spending most of Sunday standing, waiting, watching for its final demolition I assumed it would be my last time seeing Red Road, my final chance to document it. But here I was again, Monday morning and cycling up to Red Road in the early morning with camera in my backpack looking to document the aftermath of a bit of a botched demolition.

It was a beautiful clear day – the demolition of the flats had opened up the area and light was spilling in from new directions. The exclusion zones were gone and the roads opened. There was little sign of dust – last nights rain had washed it away but lying around on the ground and in the trees were torn pieces of the red mesh that once wrapped around the flats. 

People commuted, went about their business – normal service has resumed – all except the two smaller stumps of shrunken and tilted flats that stood precariously in their post demolition landscape. A few punters stood by the Red Road burger van laughing and pointing at the two towers left standing and there was a trickle of photographers and press – but nothing compared to Sunday’s Demolition Derby.

With the contractors nowhere to be seen you could get a wee bit closer to the site, perhaps closer than they would have liked. These last two blocks stood defiant amid the destruction and looked as if they could be easily ‘pushed over’. It was Red Road as you have never seen it, like a post apocalyptic dream sequence. 


Some eager local residents wandered close to the partially collapsed towers. A wee boy stood right next to the tower block and looked up in awe and I took my last photo – but then our expedition was abruptly cut short as demolition crews arrived on site within minutes and hunted everyone from the area.

I was the last to leave – they were shouting at me to get out, and as I was packing up my kit I glanced down and there was a postcard, blown from one of the surviving blocks lying intact on the ground. I picked it up and stuffed it in my pocket as I gathered my gear and ran from the site.

The postcard was from Malta, sent by a mum and dad to their son sometime decades ago. It still had a ten cents stamp and mentioned 7p bus fares – from a bygone era. It was addressed to a ‘Chris Hannan’ – who it turns out via the easy research of Google was a Glasgow Playwright now living in London. An email address was found and contact has been made. 

A strange souvenir, but fitting, a final message from the Red Road that captures a moment in just one family’s story from thousands of others. Maybe I was fated to rescue it – and maybe my work at Red Road is not over? For a wee while longer these last two blocks seem to be saying the game’s not quite ‘a bogie’ – at least, not quite yet.

Red Road Flats Demolished- Chris Leslie
Red Road Flats Demolished- Chris Leslie
Red Road Flats Demolished- Chris Leslie
Red Road Flats Demolished- Chris Leslie