Explore #39: Kings Reach Tower, London – March 2014

My first “roof-topping” experience was an amazing way to kick off a sleep-deprived mini tour of a few sites down South (of Norfolk that is). It all started with me pootling down the A11, already a bit knackered from a heavy night the night before… until I wondered who that idiot was blocking me in in the right-hand lane. Turns out it was UrbanX, laughing his arse off at the idiot on his inside lane who had abjectly failed to notice him for the past mile or two…

A quick rendezvous and car share later and we were meeting up with three fellow explorers on a crisp spring night down by the Thames. It felt great that despite having only just met the other explorers I felt an instant shared but unspoken kinship in walking through the Capital in our combats and hoodies, tripods dangling from rucksacks, whilst clubbers and revellers tottered past us on their way to the next bar or club, oblivious of our focus on our mission just ahead of us.

Kings Reach Tower is located on London’s South Bank, and was built in 1972. The tower was headquarters of IPC Media until 2007.

King's_Reach_Tower

Redevelopment began in January 2013, and the pre-existing 30-floor/111 metre/364 foot structure will have a further 11 floors added, bringing it up to 41 floors/155 metres/509 feet once it is finished in 2015.

The top floors will house apartments for the wealthy and super-wealthy, with penthouse apartments on the market now for just shy of £3,000,000 – here are some artist’s impressions from the South Bank Tower owners’ website (all rights acknowledged).

Kings Reach 2

South Bank Tower for sale

Our access was certainly interesting, and after an initial ascent of the first 10 floors or so in the concrete internal staircase we completed the following 20 floors in the external metal workers’ staircase.

My head for heights appears to be improving – although I made sure I kept my eyes mainly on following the person in front, with only the occasional glance down at the top of the OXO Tower already far below!

After a brief toilet and water break at the workers’ area on the 28th floor we were soon on the roof, where we were greeted with spectacular views of the city below us.

Click on a photo to view large!

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The obligatory “hero shot”…
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Sadly this is the only shot I got with the OXO Tower’s lights illuminated – I hadn’t realised that they turn them off at midnight!
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The view from the top of the external staircase that we took to the roof – this is one of my favourite shots from the explore.
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Another selfie…
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We then headed down a few floors…this is the view from inside the external staircase.
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And an internal shot from floor 15 (I think).
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Obviously the ascending 31 storeys wasn’t enough exercise for one night, so after a few shots on the 15th floor we legged it back up to the workers’ area for another drink of water and a group shot by the workers’ picnic area!

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StewEP3, Mr Dan, SweetPea, UrbanX, Adam X

All in all a fantastic night… followed by a solo drive down to Aldershot for a snatched 45 mins sleep in the back of my car before meeting another group of explorers to visit an abandoned Military Hospital… abandoned apart from the the legendary Ghurka security that is! But that’s for next time – report to come soon!

Thank you for your visit, and I hope you enjoyed the view.

Adam X

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10 thoughts on “Explore #39: Kings Reach Tower, London – March 2014

  1. Great night shots of the city from a unique vantage point. As safe as it probably was, heights is where I draw a line and do not go. Glad you accepted the challenge through 🙂

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    • I worked on this site at age 18 in 1972. I remember all too well the day a worker fell through the concrete form work for several floors to end up one leg either side of a beam. Hospital case to say the least. I loved taking a short walk with my pack lunch to the river side jetty. All undeveloped then.

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  2. Amazing. I work near this building and would never be brave enough to do that (inside I really want to though!). Fantastic shots.

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  3. Excellent! Although I have to say in your “Obligatory Hero Shot” I can see your knees trembling … and you look like Michael Myers out of “Halloween” ;o)

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