We’re on the home run. It’s the fifth and final part of our ‘High Fives’ looking at London’s moments over the 25 years we’ve been in business. Buildings with nicknames continue to figure – showing that investment into the Capital’s infrastructure is healthy and well.
We’re picking things up in 2013 – the unlucky year that had to follow the super stellar one that was 2012. Sadly, it mostly lived up to the expectation…
2013 – Londoners – and the rest of the world – were shocked at a shocking, brutal terrorist attack by two islamic fundamentalists who murdered Soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich. The ground was broken for the new American Embassy at Nine Elms in Southwark Borough – the building finally became operational in January this year! October saw the St. Jude Storm – which blew over two construction cranes – one in Whitehall, the other in Old Kent Road.
2014 – Londoners were treated to two new buildings they could nickname after an appliance – both sited in the City. The “Walkie-Talkie” or 20, Fenchurch Street (to give it the correct name) was finished in Spring. Meanwhile, round the corner, 122 Leadenhall Street opened and was quickly branded – and aptly named – the Cheese Grater – due to its tall tapering shape. Meanwhile in probably the most moving Art Installation of the 21st Century – marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I – was created in the moat at the tower of London. 888,246 ceramic poppies were arranged representing the most widely agreed figure for British and Commonwealth lives lost in the Great War. Entitled: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – taken from a poem by an Unknown Solider killed at Flanders, over 5million people visited to see the artwork and an estimated 17,500 volunteers put each flower in place by hand.
2015 – The BBC reported that London’s population had hit a record high of 8.6 million. With predictions that it will rise to 11 million by 2050, it looks as though the demand for storage solutions is set to stay strong. In an audacious robbery – with echoes of the movie Bank Job – a safety deposit vault was raided at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit limited. Owing to the private nature of the contents of the raided deposit boxes, the actual value of the theft is unknown – but estimates put it at around £200million, making it the biggest heist in English legal History. Within one month the perpetrators – mostly a group of career criminals in their 60s and 70s – had been caught. 7 out of 8 of them received prison sentences and one was acquitted. Unsurprisingly, the story has already been made into two films, whilst a third starring Sir Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent and Ray Winstone is in production.
2016 – Sadie Kahn won the Mayoral Election – returning the administration to Labour Party and becoming the first Muslim Mayor of any European Capital. The Tate Modern Switch House opened – a 10 Storey extension to the existing Gallery. The Met Police moved house as Scotland Yard was relocated From Victoria Street to Victoria Embankment. The site was previously home to Scotland Yard from 1890 to 1967. This time round the Curtis Green Building was heavily renovated prior to the relocation.
2017 – was a bit of a miserable one sadly. A tough year to be Cressida Dick – the first female Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police – who was appointed in February. Lots of things happened that really weren’t very nice. In March a terrorist killed four on Westminster Bridge, before killing PC Keith Palmer who was on duty at the gate to the Palace of Westminster. Two more terrorist attacks And of course there was the Grenfell Tower Fire in which 71 people lost their lives. But let us leave 2017 – and this look back at London’s events over the last 25 years – on some kind of a high. It has to be the Engagement of London’s newest coolest couple Prince Harry and Megan Markle, which was announced by Clarence House in November.