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Ronan Point: Ex-builder uses concrete beams from tower block to build his home in Romford

PUBLISHED: 16:26 18 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:53 18 May 2018

Nick Devlin, who built his house from beams collected from the Ronan Point tower block. Picture: Ken Mears

Nick Devlin, who built his house from beams collected from the Ronan Point tower block. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

An ex-builder is living in a house in Romford made from pieces of Ronan Point, a tower block in Canning Town which partially collapsed in 1968.

The house, while under construction. Picture: Nick DevlinThe house, while under construction. Picture: Nick Devlin

Nick Devlin lived in Forest Gate when a gas explosion rocked the tower and subsequently claimed four lives.

When the block was demolished in 1986, he took his chance to have some of the parts – and subsequently built a home from them.

“I was about 18 when it fell over,” he said.

“I had a Vauxhall van and I went and had a look at it with my mate.

The house, while under construction. Picture: Nick DevlinThe house, while under construction. Picture: Nick Devlin

“It was quite exciting. Looking at it, it was bizarre. The structure’s filling was rubbish – I heard it was filled with newspapers and cement bags.”

Nick almost lived in Ronan Point himself, but took a prefab in Beckton Road instead. When the demolition began in the eighties, a friend of Mick’s was working on the site, and offered him some free concrete.

“He said do you want some concrete, and I’m in the building trade, so I didn’t miss the chance,” the 71-year-old said.

“All the beams were in stacks, they were like matchsticks.

Four people were killed after Ronan Point in Canning Town collapsed. Pics: PA ArchiveFour people were killed after Ronan Point in Canning Town collapsed. Pics: PA Archive

“I used to sell them to builders for a fiver, because the new stuff is rubbish in comparison.”

Nick took between 600 and 800 beams of concrete to his home, where he’s lived in since 1985. He began using them to extend his house, much to the annoyance of the council.

“On my farm, I’ve got a lot of beams that were part of Ronan Point,” he said. “I used them in the footings, to build a back door, I used them in one of my lakes and all of my windows have Ronan Point beams in them.”

But Nick still has beams leftover, with some in storage underground and four laying in the grass outside. Having read that campaigners were looking to get a permanent memorial to Ronan Point erected, he thought he could contribute.

“I thought it would be marvellous to have them used as part of the memorial,” Nick said.

“I thought, we can do something with these beams, make a cross out of them for example. It’d be a waste to have them sit there.”

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