On the way home from work, we went into Maplin’s in Camomile Street (off Bishopsgate) for a quick look around and then waited for the 250 bus at the stop outside. This is where the massive Heron Tower is being built.
Intended to become the second tallest building in London, the Tower has risen steadily skywards over the last few months and you really have to bend your neck to see the top.
The road is quite busy and my eye was caught by a group of builders working on something with the traffic passing dangerously close to them.
They were handling what at first appeared to be a large metal tank. Was it a water tank? A heating appliance? Only later when it rotated did I see what it was. Any guesses?
When it rotated during manoeuvres I saw it had doors and realized it was a lift car. In the finished building, people will be travelling up and down in this.
To my mind the remarkable thing was that the car, obviously very heavy, was being moved very accurately, inches at a time. If you look at the top of the photo of the Heron Tower, you can see the illuminated boom of one of the tower cranes. It was this crane that was moving the load hanging from it but you can tell from the photo that the crane driver in his cab cannot possibly see down here because the building is in the way. How he can move this heavy object blind but with inch-perfect precision is a mystery to me.
What they are doing in the photo above is removing part of the supporting frame from the lift car while between the line of men standing watching and those working, cars, lorries and buses are streaming past.
Released from the frame, the lift car was slowly raised again and then shifted sideways to what looked like a trackway on the left in front of the parted curtain. Again I was impressed by the accurate movements and, consequently, by the skills of the crane driver.
It was very cold in the street and we waited a long time for the bus but I hardly noticed this, absorbed by the manoeuvres. It was obvious that the men working on this task knew exactly what they were doing, proving that today’s builders are very skilled people, having had to understand and master a wide range of tasks.
I was glad to see how safety-conscious they were. You might be able to see that each man has a loop of harness attached to his back. In fact, from a distance, they almost look like tiny dolls to attach to a key-ring! Whenever they climbed onto the car or the scaffolding, they attached their harness to protect against a fall. I don’t know whether that gave them more confidence but it certainly made me feel better as I stood there watching!
At last the bus came and carried us off in the direction of the above photo. Glad to be in the warm, I nonetheless wished I had been able to see the next stage of the operation.
There is so much fascinating activity to observe in this ever-evolving city of ours.