New trends, particularly within large cities and towns, are forever taking hold and subsequently disappearing again without too much alarm. However, the latest trend to sweep the world ‘Urban Climbing’ is causing particular concern for one of London’s most unusual and best-loved structures – the Lloyd’s Building at 112 Leadenhall Street.
Lloyd’s is the world’s oldest insurance market having been operational for over 330 years. Their headquarters in the City of London is instantly recognisable, possessing an especially unique design. Originally, having features including lift-shafts, water pipes and staircases on the outside of the building was to save internal space. Today, this spectacular design has proven ideal for an increasingly popular trend known as Urban Climbing.
What is Urban Climbing?
It is performed on iconic buildings throughout the world from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa to the Great Pyramid of Giza. Urban Climbing is the action of scaling major landmarks and skyscrapers whilst filming it all on a body cam.
The Scale of the Problem
Incidentally, these videos are becoming increasingly popular on sites such as YouTube and Instagram. The most viewed, publicly available video of a Lloyd’s climb has accumulated over 33,000 views. What’s more, the benefits of Urban Climbing come in the form of more than just adrenaline and internet fame; fearless daredevils can also earn a pretty penny for their hair-raising climbs. One perpetrator reportedly earns an estimated £169,000 per year from his YouTube channel, a figure calculated by a private security firm hired by Lloyd’s.
Thanks to its ‘inside-out’ design, the Lloyd’s building has proven to be a popular and somewhat easier building to climb than the city’s other skyscrapers. In fact, the rate at which people are attempting to climb the building has dramatically increased in recent years. Since 2013, there have been at least 49 instances of people scaling the building, 21 of which occurred in 2017.
Lloyd’s, having decided enough is enough, have filed for an injunction banning people from climbing the 14-storey 112 Leadenhall Street. According to the Financial Times, the company have even managed to take action against previous perpetrators with the company having gained “signed assurances from eight of them that they will not climb the building or encourage others to do so.” Forced removal of videos on social media documenting the climbs has also arisen.
Speaking to the Financial Times again, a representative from Lloyd’s said, “The increase in frequency of trespassers not only increases the risk of injury, but also poses a threat to the security of Lloyd’s inasmuch as the global broadcasting of these incidents openly provides information about access points to future trespassers as well as future trespassers with malicious intent.”
Lloyds’ Protected Status
Protecting the Lloyd’s tower is something that many Londoners feel very strongly about. Opening in 1986, the structure received Grade I listing just 25 years later, making it the youngest building to receive the honour.
Although seemingly harmless, there are underlying factors to the new Urban Climbing trend that adrenaline seekers may not have initially considered. If this trend continues its popularity, the city could be facing serious damages to its beloved structures.
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