2nd Edition of '360˚ at the Gherkin' On It's Way!

With all my publications there has been a lot of work behind the scenes* and the 2nd edition of '360˚ at The Gherkin is no exception. (*I'm sure it's the same for everyone's books, I just don't know about the development stories of anyone else's). 

London's skyline has changed radically in the last few years - when I arrived at the Gherkin in 2009 only it and Tower 42 could be counted as tall buildings in the City of London. One of the reasons I proposed the book in the first place was that people would arrive at the top of the Gherkin and find the 360˚ view disorientating and, as things look different from above, they'd often have no idea what they were seeing - after a while they would spot St Paul's course but lots of the rest was a mystery. The Gherkin, it seemed to me, to be crying out for a view guide. Searcys agreed and the first book was produced. It has now completely sold out.

For this edition the new cityscape - the Shard and the Walkie-Talkie to the south, the Leadenhall to the West and the Olympic Stadium in the East, meant new panoramic portraits of the views so our photographer Joe was busy again. As before we wanted to capture the views at different times of day, although we kept the snowy dawn shot of the South-East in as it's simply so beautiful (good news for Joe because that dawn shot was taken in January just before 7am and this week dawn was at 4am!)

As many of the landmarks we identified in the first edition are now behind either the new towers, the new edition needed more research too. Before the first edition I spent 3 months at the Gherkin recording what people pointed out in the views and what they asked questions about and used this information to help select the 100 buildings and landmarks we identified. Then Carolyn, Dan and I started to research for the right stories. This time the three of us looked out the windows to see what we could spot. Was that the Golden Hind? Dan thinks he can see a mast (we zoomed into Joe's photos on the i-pad, yes he could) meanwhile Carolyn is delighted we can include Fishmongers Hall and immediately gives us 3 stories to choose from (we chose one about Wat Tyler being killed there by the Fishmonger master). We have sprinkled new places and accompanying stories throughout all the views, I think my favourite is that the little clock tower atop Sugar House in the East is an exact quarter replica of Big Ben.

Hours of proofing with Sara Fox follow (yes, she of building the Gherkin fame).  Sara gives the same degree of attention to my grammar and typos as she does to getting a London landmark built, so thanks to her help the text is now perfect.

Design is next, the changes in photography and new wording mean each page has to be reworked. It's been done beautifully and I think Johnny (Creative Director) has made this edition look crisper and hang together even better than the first.

Now - we're ready for print - everything leaves today, June 13th, at 9am.

Incidentally Heron Towers was completed just as we finished the first edition and I struggled to find an unusual fact about it, then the day after we published they unveiled a gigantic tank in the reception area containing 1,000 fish and 3 sharks. The fish have made the second edition (the sharks long since being evicted for eating the other fish). 

The Views Lose Their Appeal

Today is a rare day where the top of the Gherkin is covered in mist, one of the few times I've ever been there with nobody looking out of the windows. It's fun to see the staff using our '360˚ at the Gherkin' book to show people what they would normally be seeing!

It happened last month too - suddenly the views lost all their appeal. At least to all the children racing all over the Gherkin Club lounge searching for Easter Eggs ahead of a family lunch in the restaurant.  The children too busy searching for brightly coloured eggs to fill their baskets, joyfully exclaiming with every find, and the adults all enjoying their children enjoying themselves. Tremendous fun.

‘360˚ at the Gherkin’ books for NSPCC - March 3rd 2014

The NSPCC announced that a sponsor has been confirmed for the special  edition of my ‘360˚ at the Gherkin’ books for the 2014 Gherkin Challenge and that each participant who reaches their target fundraising of £200 will receive a copy. That's such great news - I hope people like the idea and it makes them want to register for the event. I love seeing people use the book at the top of the building and know people love taking it home and now it will be memory of both their effort and of the building. 

The cover of the first edition of '360˚ at the Gherkin' - all sold out now.

The cover of the first edition of '360˚ at the Gherkin' - all sold out now.

A special guest enjoys reading her copy of  '360˚ at the Gherkin'

A special guest enjoys reading her copy of  '360˚ at the Gherkin'

‘360˚ at the Gherkin’ for Christmas - December 17th 2013

I am speaking at a lunch at the Gherkin today and all the guests are getting copies of my ‘360˚ at the Gherkin’ book. These are the last few copies of the first edition so I can start putting my plans for the second edition into practice, fabulous.


The books were well received, as always which was great, I love seeing people use the books in the building to identify what they can see in the views.  A nice surprise was that Singleton PR ended up with a spare place at lunch and kindly invited me to join them, their guests were tremendous fun, lunch was absolutely delicious and of course I was able to answer Gherkin questions all afternoon.

Wrapped '360˚ at the Gherkin' books at the Singleton PR lunch in Searcys The Gherkin's Hennessy Private Dining Room

Wrapped '360˚ at the Gherkin' books at the Singleton PR lunch in Searcys The Gherkin's Hennessy Private Dining Room