Gardenmore is gone, but not forgotten

GARDENMORE House may have been reduced to a pile of rubble, but memories of the tower block live on in the hearts of Larne people - for better or worse.

The 16-storey block of flats, which has overlooked the entrance to the town for more than 40 years, finally disappeared from the skyline last Wednesday as another phase of the 36-week demolition contract was completed.

Built more than 40 years ago during a boom in demand for social housing, Gardenmore was one of three high-rise buildings to be erected in Larne. Although Latharna is still standing, Shanes House was demolished four years ago.

While contractors have been on the scene for months, the demolition began in earnest in mid-December when a state-of-the-art machine was brought in to tear the building apart from the top.

Fascinated locals gathered to watch the spectacle, many of them capturing the footage on their cameras or mobile phones.

And some have been posting their thoughts about the demise of the flats on the Larne Times facebook page, or recounting their memories of one of Larne’s most iconic landmarks.

One person wrote: “I lived all my childhood in Gardenmore Place, so Gardenmore House was a big part of my life. An eyesore it may have been but there is something quite sad about it going as well.”

She also recalled that the high flats was “a great vantage point for clodding stuff at folk”.

“I remember walking up past the flats in my new velvet jacket (which were the height of fashion at the time) and someone threw a lot of water out round me,” she added.

In another (more worrying) incident, one person remembers the night that something else came falling from the sky near Gardenmore.

He said: “One night I was coming back from the pub with my mate. We were walking past the side of Gardenmore House and low and behold a microwave was thrown out of one of the side windows and just missed my head by inches. Ah well, at least I lived to tell the story!”

While many people have fond memories of the tower block, not everyone will be sad to see it go, with one person simply saying: “Another eyesore gone.”

No matter how you feel about the tower blocks, love them or loath them, one thing is clear - when the time comes for Latharna House to go the way of Gardenmore and Shanes House, Larne will never be quite the same again.