Report - - The Scalpel - London | High Stuff | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - The Scalpel - London


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The Scalpel – 2016

Bloody hell this was a cold one.

“The Scalpel is a commercial skyscraper in London, United Kingdom. It is located on Lime Street in the City of London financial area. Originally a nickname but subsequently designated as its official name, the term "Scalpel" was coined by the Financial Times due to the building's distinctive angular design. The building has also been noted for its similarity to a "play" media button due to how it looks from South of the River Thames. This follows a trend of nicknaming new buildings based upon their shape, such as the nearby Leadenhall Building, also known as "The Cheesegrater". Completed in 2018, The Scalpel at 52 Lime Street is 190 m (620 ft) tall, with 38 storeys. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox.”


The explore:

The team consisted of myself and OT.
The scalpel was to be the tallest building I had explored, and it had some of the better anti-trespass measures I had come across. High fences, vibration sensors, CCTV, 24hr security and for 99% of the year 24hr workers. However, this event took place on that 1% of the year when there were no workers on site. That was one less thing to worry about.
It was freezing, the kind of cold air that chills you to the bone. You try to explain the English winter to people that haven’t experienced it but they don’t understand. It’s a cold that penetrates everything, everywhere. I had attempted to prepare for this by wearing several layers including thermals, tracksuit bottoms and jeans on top; picture the Michlelin man and you won’t be far off. One of the things I love about London is that after 8pm parking pretty much everywhere is free! On scoping the site out everything seemed nice and quiet, no worker activity, just the gentle hum of equipment. The tall fences were intimidating but OT had identified a weak point in the site’s defences which we soon exploited. A quiet night in the city is a blessed occasion but it also comes with its drawbacks, trying to avoid an active security presence and be as quiet as possible is tough and made even tougher without background noise to obfuscate your actions. We crept down alongside the site hoarding and headed in the direction we thought the stairs would be, unaware of the secca’s whereabouts or if we’d even been spotted already. The site was very dark and lit only dimly which played to our advantage, we eventually found the stairs and began to ascend. We paused a few floors up and listened, trying to identify any notice of our activity. We listened for a few minutes as a gentle rain started to descend on the site giving us that sound cover that we wanted. We climbed up and up, to the 20th floor which was as far as the construction had reached, from here it was another 20 floors via the crane however the rain had increased at this point and we didn’t fancy the climb in the rain. We retreated 2 floors and waited for it to subside enough so we could tackle the ladders.

Scalpel 3.JPG

Eventually the rain lessened enough to begin our climb, which was repetitive, arduous and freezing. Now being largely exposed to the elements the wind was biting and the cold droplets of rain that clung to the ladder rungs soaked through my gloves chilling my fingers. Every few levels I had to pause and shake warm blood to the ends of my hands so I could still feel what I was grabbing onto. Eventually we reached the top of the ladders and the crane cab, hoping to find refuge in the cab from the wind and rain. It was locked. A little poking around and lifting of some metaphorical stones the key presented itself and we gained entry to the cab. Inside there was a small heater, a kettle and television. The heater was switched promptly on and the telly plugged in. Channel 4 was the entertainment and we decided to get some kip while we waited for the sun to come up. The slumber was intermittent and quite uncomfortable, these crane cabs are really only designed for 1 person so to fit myself and OT in there wasn’t much space to get comfortable and the unnerving swaying of the crane put me on edge. The hours soon passed however and the sky turned from inky black to navy blue, and from navy blue to cobalt blue, and so on and so forth until dawn had officially broken. And what a sight it was. We snapped away on our cameras and soon made our departure back down through the site. OT knew that the site had a webcam installed to take a shot of the whole building every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to serve as a timelapse on the contractors website. So how could we resist.

Scalpel 1 good version print (original).jpg

Scalpel 1 good version print (original) - Copy.jpg

And with that final accomplishment we snuck back the way we came, with no sight of another human being, up and over the same spot we had exploited several hours earlier and off into the morning.

Thanks to OT for the research, planning and execution of this one, I was just tagging along!

Scalpel 1.JPG


Scalpel 2.JPG


Scalpel 5.JPG


Scalpel 6.jpg


Scalpel 7.jpg

Until Next Time.​

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