Have you been to Tower Bridge recently? If so I hope you've enjoyed the glass floors in the high-level walkways and Baizdon's Tower Bridge 360 which is on sale as you go in and in the Tower Bridge Exhibition shop. News is that our splendid image of the bridge is now on a range of merchandise in the shop, rulers, book marks, chocolates and two jigsaws. This is a first for us and the whole team excited.
Our Baizdon guide to The Monument for the City of London will be published in April and all the research on the building is now done so we've turned our attention to the view. Ace team Carolyn and Dan made it to the top this week to start the process of choosing which buildings in the 360˚ view we will identify. Many of them we'll already have collections of stories and facts on (having already published guides to the views from the Gherkin and from Tower Bridge) but there's some new ones we haven't been able to include in the other publications. Carolyn gets very excited that we can see the statue on top of the Old Bailey, Lady Justice holding a sword in one hand and scales in the other - Carolyn lets us know she's not blindfolded as often thought (and as she is in many forms from the 15th century onwards) - the Old Bailey has the original impartial Lady Justice.
I haven't made it to the top yet (despite going several times as a child). In 2015 I get a little way up, look down into the open central stairwell and my fear of heights kicks in and I have to go down again. Currently I'm building myself for another attempt.
Our photographer Adam has been to the very top - his head (and some of his body) has actually popped up from the very top of the golden orb to capture the views for the Baizdon guide - this involves more steps, a rickety ladder and a harness. He says the views are even better up there. I'll take his word for it.
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.
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.
Carolyn Webb (Baizdon Ace Researcher and Official City of London Tour Guide) and I go to the Promote Iceland event at One Aldwych where we try lots of Icelandic food and cocktails (we both liked the ‘Blue Lagoon’ best - even though it was actually green), discover how many films have been shot in the country (loads) and see a special showing of ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ at One Aldywch’s luxurious screening room. The film was wonderful, it immediately wanted me to go back to Iceland! Do go and see the movie and something to remember is that although Walter visits Iceland, Greenland and Afghanistan in the film, in reality all the location shots were filmed in Iceland and yes, it is that beautiful and that extraordinary.
After the event we had champagne in One Aldwych courtesy of the fabulous Mark Tucker, we sat beside a splendid Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory themed Christmas tree. All round a perfect evening.
Another Gherkin Milestone! Today a framed picture of Baizdon's Gherkin Guide went on permanent display in the Searcys art gallery at the top of the building. (On the 38th floor of the Gherkin there is a glass walkway with the view on one side and an art gallery on the other. Of course the pictures have stiff competition from the view but there has been some stunning art on display and every three months a new exhibition goes up.) Beneath the picture there is a recommendation for my Gherkin Talks as Searcys expert on the building, which is just fantastic. I am beside myself with joy and pride! ‘You are grinning like a small child’ one of the staff told me '50% child, 50% businesswoman.’ I replied, still grinning.
Massive thanks to Yana Revenko from Searcys for the idea and to GM Danny Kaljee for approving it. Brilliant framing by Chris from Soho Framers - I had no idea there would be so many different coloured steels to choose from for the frame or that the non-reflective glass would be so key.
LV= recently gave some of their Advisers the opportunity to nominate their favourite charity to receive a £1,000 donation. To acknowledge the brilliant work done by all the charities and to say thank you they got everyone together at the Gherkin as the guests of James Bilton for a champagne buffet lunch and the presentation of the donations. Each charity representative and their nominees were invited to bring a guest and we all enjoyed hearing from each charity about their work. It was a wonderful and very moving afternoon and I was delighted to be able to add to the guests’ enjoyment with stories about the building, escorting each charity up to the very top for the presentation of their giant cheques by Justin Harper was very special. LV= also presented everyone with a copy of The Gherkin Guide as a memento of their day.
The charities were Niamh’s Next Step; Macmillian Cancer Support; St.Peter’s Hospice; Cancer Research UK and Richmond Fellowship.
Today I have a Baizdon meeting with Matthew White of British Land in Searcys Club The Gherkin to discuss the possibilities around Baizdon producing a tall building Leporellos for The Leadenhall Building (as it is included on a list of buildings we would like to feature). Seems to go well, perfect place for looking across at The Leadenhall. Matthew recommend’s me to his colleague (always lots of stages to go through but the fact that The Gherkin Guide was produced after nine months of negotiation always keeps me persevering.)
I enjoy talking about The Leadenhall in my Gherkin Talks at Searcys events – people love learning that the Cheesegrater shape was the solution to the need to preserve the sight lines to St Paul’s. Richard Rogers (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners) explains it like this “One of the arts of architecture is to use constraints, turn them upside down and see whether they can help you to design the building”