The Winchester

"Not all those who wander are lost" – Tolkien

A night in The ‘Don – May 2010

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We just can’t stop ourselves, we keep going back: Every time we visit London we pass a crane on the A4 at Brentford, a big red bastard we can see for miles before. We practically go underneath it, but we never pull off and stop. Always other things to do, places to see.

We started in the centre, parking by Tower bridge and walking to Adelaide house, a site that sat next to London Bridge and opposite the new Shard development. Opened in 1925, Adelaide house is notable for being the first ‘modern’ office building, having an internal mail system and air conditioning. At some point there was a putting green on the roof, but this is taken up with lift and ventilation machinery.

Up top was peaceful; we could hear sirens across the river, see blue lights flashing and red and white streaks on the bridge slowly made by passing cars’ headlights hitting those pixels.

Looking back was the city, with the spire of the Friends of the City Church providing an interesting counterpoint to the construction of Heron Tower in the background.

HMS Belfast and London Bridge were sat to our right, fixtures on the Thames for years. I thought of the putting green here when the site was built and imagined executives having an afternoon play, viewing the same view we were.

We made our way back to the A4, and before too long were up the crane. It’s unnerving being up a crane, the wind will hit you and despite the gib being built for safety, jelly legs are more common a problem than up a tall building. This was a good feeling, to be up here. We’d seen it so many times and finally we’d given it a go.

The guard came out for his patrol below, his torch and hi-vis jacket making him easy to track. I was convinced we’d be seen on our way down, but it was 3am and I doubt suspicions would be aroused.

The view wasn’t as spectacular as I’d imagined, we were far from other buildings of interest and the height was of more interest than the surroundings. Underneath was another crane which was dwarved by the height  we were at.

We scrambled down and out, congratulating ourselves on ticking another box. I scraped my shins and elbows but no regrets, this climbing frame on steroids was pure fun. Upon reviewing my photos I had a few regrets. I didn’t take enough pics, I didn’t shoot enough film, and I didn’t venture along the end of the Gib. Shame on me.


Written by Winch

June 2nd, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Infrastructure/construction

Tagged with Chris, Dan, Gary

One Response to 'A night in The ‘Don – May 2010'

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  1. Hehe I never make it to the end of the gib either, though I always swear I will do it the next time!

    Here is some inspiration for your next climb: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-solitary-life-of-cranes/4od#3021982

    Bradley Garrett

    2 Jun 10 at 5:45 pm

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