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Report - Leadenhall Building (Cheese Grater), London - May & Sept 2013

Discussion in 'High Stuff' started by OliverT, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. OliverT

    OliverT 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Jan 2, 2011
    Likes Received:

    I quite enjoy watching skyscrapers grow, especially this one. I watched them erect the first crane from the roof of the Rafidian bank on Leadenhall Street in summer 2011, I watched the first pieces of steel be lifted into place from the roof of Lloyds in March 2012, and I watched the last crane (excluding the small cladding crane) get taken down at the weekend. It's a bit of a sad moment for me when it all comes to an end, it's like from now onwards, it's never really going to have another part of your life, you're never going to be watching the webcam in anticipation whilst sending tense text messages to your friends, all wondering if the workers have fucked off yet. Instead, it's handed over to a bunch of boring city workers, who will never properly realise the engineering feats that went behind constructing their dull place of work. When exploring any building sites before completion you see it in its raw form, without the pretty plasterboards and carpet. That's the bit that really gives you the connection.

    From an exploring point of view, this place was an absolute headache. For a long time before topping out, it was looking like it was going to be an easy one, much like the Walkie Talkie; however as the building grew taller, naturally more people started to notice it... namely SNC ;) who decided they couldn't be patient like the rest of us and climbed it long before topping out, getting caught on the way out and contributing to the site eventually turning into the equivalent of an A-cat prison... :rolleyes:

    However, despite that, the part that caused us the most problems was the 24/7 work... every single night, without fail, Dicky, LonDan, AndrewB and I would all be anxiously watching the webcam in hope the site would actually be dead. It never was. Instead, we had to think a little more creatively to save missing out on climbing it. We decided to take advantage of the fact the cranes aren't allowed to operate in bad weather, and so picked a day with high winds; although unfortunately on this occasion AndyB couldn't make it.

    At this point I'll go back to the point where I compared this place to an A-cat. To get in, we had to pass three different security guards; only one of which was actually for Leaden, but all three were well aware of the route we were taking.
    The first was probably the easiest to sneak past, however after throwing LonDan over the fence, our timings went tits up as the bus stop next door filled up and police pulled up opposite us to deal with a drunk man... we decided to leave Dan to his hiding place and went to get some dinner while we waiting for everyone to clear off :p:

    I don't mind talking about the access as it no longer exists: it basically involved climbing over a scaffold bridge from the Pinnacle site, over the top of Undershaft and into the Leadenhall site. However in the way of this, was a coil of razor wire, and two guards; both of which were closely watching the bridge and hoarding below. Our only option was to wait for a shift change, which luckily for us came just as we arrived at the bottom of the bridge and gave us a good minute or two to climb up and crawl across the wooden boards.

    The next hurdle was actually finding a way into the building: the site wasn't as dead as we thought from the outside, we realised as soon as we were in they were merely being quiet and the site was actually full of workers, on nearly every single floor. We all agreed we'd come too far now to give up, and after a bit of searching around, found an unclad section of the stairs that we could climb into.
    We reached the top (after narrowly avoiding two workers taking wind readings about three metres away from us) and it's at this point I'll go back to the high winds I mentioned earlier: on ground level, the winds could easily cause problems, it was the sort of wind that makes you feel very light on your feet as you walk along the pavement. However 225 metres up, it's a totally different story, it was easily close to hurricane force; the cranes ladders were pulsating in the wind, the last one a good 1-2 feet both ways, which didn't stop when you were climbing it. It felt as though someone was trying to shake you off from the top... and at that kind of height it's pretty nasty.
    It didn't get much better once we reached the top either, we didn't even climb up onto the slipform of the crane, it was simply too sketchy. Instead we stayed around the cab where it was a little more sheltered, and tried to grab a few crappy pictures between the cranes swaying and between the workers on the roof below taking wind readings looking up.
    All in all, it's probably one of the hardest things I've ever done; avoiding that many workers whilst trying to not get blown over the side... still, it was a great feeling to have finally got it done.

    The second visit was a little easier, and fairly uneventful, but totally spontaneous. I got a phone call from LonDan to say there were no workers on site and security had just fucked off... an opportunity we weren't going to miss! AndyB was with us this time, but no Dicky.
    There was however added doors in the stairs and a sneaky PIR we managed to not set off, but once at the top it was really chilled, only a slight breeze (but still really cold) and I was able to actually get some photos without having to worry about being blown over the side.

    I won't post any pictures from my first visit as they're all high iso and blurred. All the following pictures were taken last month after the steel and most of the cladding was complete....

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    Thanks for looking. ​
    #1 OliverT, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

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