Karen captures death of Wrexham landmark

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Staff reporter

THE life and death of one of Wrexham most famous landmarks has been captured on film.

Freelance photographer Karen Oliver has spent the last two years painstakingly recording the trials and tribulations of Hightown Flats.

Hightown Flats, built in the late 1960s, were plagued by a catalogue of structural problems.

The council could not afford to spend £17.5 million on a major facelift and therefore opted in 2009 to bulldoze the whole complex to make way for affordable housing.

Lens woman Karen, 39, who lives in the town’s York Park, gained special permission from the council to make a comprehensive photographic record of the 181 flats and maisonettes in their death throes.

She has snapped everything from the time the last tenants were being moved out to new homes, to the way the buildings were stripped ready for demolition, right up to the bulldozers moving in. And she plans to stay on site to record building work on the affordable houses which will eventually replace the old flats.

Karen, whose husband Simon is also a freelance cameraman, studied photography for four years at Yale College in Wrexham.

She said: “My aim has been to document the demolition progress and capture the changes made to the local landscape as Hightown Flats was such an iconic structure locally for 40 years.

“I believe all this should be recorded for future generations.

She added: “The council were pleased to give me permission to do this as part of Wrexham’s Year of Culture and the demolition contractors have been very friendly and helpful.

“Some of the interior decor of the flats was very interesting and I saw one ceiling which had been painted with spider’s webs.”

There are more pictures of the flats on Karen’s Flicker site at www.flickr.com/photos/docuphoto/

See full story in the Leader

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