It is the end of an era for an Egremont landmark building.

The big red lion which stood proudly on the front of the Red Lion Hotel in Main Street falls flat in seconds after being hit by heavy machinery on February 26.

Resident Steve Gwilliam has sent News & Star pictures of the before and after moments, when the lion toppled.

He had mixed emotions about the building and said: “The big red lion on the front of the Red Lion Hotel, Egremont is gone in seconds. You can just see it lying flat as it falls in the second picture.

“It’s maybe a pity that no attempt was made to salvage it for posterity, it will probably have been damaged too much in the fall.

“For those who liked a drink there, and those of us who lived there for a time, it’s a shame to see it go. But the building had become an eyesore, and the pub could never have been the same again as we all remember it.”

Bringing down the building will come as a relief to residents, businesses and councils after the site has remained in a state of disrepair for several years.

Residents had previously expressed concerns about the state of the building, access issues for pedestrians and buses when trying to reach the bus stop, disruption for motorists and needles had also been found at the site.

When the team arrived to take down the building, Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, previously said: “It is a momentous day for Egremont that demolition workers and bulldozers have arrived on site at the former Red Lion building.

“I am committed to tackling dilapidated buildings in all our towns, and the start of this work in Egremont is another huge step forward. It will bring significant benefits for everyone who loves the town.

“Like the demolition of Mark House in Whitehaven, it is a painstaking process towards this improvement, but I will continue to work with owners and tenants to steer sites like the Red Lion from dilapidation into regeneration.”

Egremont Town Council are equally pleased that demolition work has started.

Sam Pollen, deputy chairman, said: “Egremont Town Council wholeheartedly welcomes this development. Our councillors have been working diligently for a number of years with the Mayor and Copeland Council’s officers towards a resolution to this long-standing issue.”

“We now see this as the catalyst for a period of investment and opportunity in our town.”

Last week Copeland Council also received a demolition notice for number 4 and 5 Market Place, formerly Tommy Kelly’s clothes shop, which adjoins the former Red Lion, from owner David Cox.

This will see all buildings between Retreat beauty salon and The Blue Bell pub also set for demolition.