News & Events
Client: Linden Homes
Site: Bermondsey, Southwark, London
Start Date: Febuarary 2015
To watch a video of the bomb being detonated visit our You Tube channel here
Linden Homes awarded the contract for the demolition, asbestos removal and installation of a piling mat at Gibson House, Evelyn Coyle House and Mable Goldwin House to Matthews (Sussex) Ltd.The site was formerly used as office space and care homes, with Mabel Golwin House providing space for Primary Care Trust, Children’s Services and Social Services, Evelyn Coyle House and Mable Goldwin House providing respite and care for the elderly.
Mabel Goldwin was a 5 storey building constructed of steel framework encased in concrete, with clay pot and beam floors, externally the building was heavily glazed and clad in corrugated tin sheeting. Gibson House was a 2 storey structure constructed of brick and concrete, with timber framed roof. Evelyn Coyle House was a single storey structure constructed of brick, with a flat timber framed roof.
The initial works on site was to ensure all asbestos products were safely removed, once these works were completed and all relevant air testing undertaken, the soft strip works of each of the buildings could begin. The waste was segregated into waste streams and removed from site accordingly helping to maximise the recycling potential of all the waste generated during the works. The demolition of Evelyn Coyle House was then undertaken, after which both Gibson House and Mable Goldwin House were simultaneously demolished. It was decided that the 5 storey Mabel Goldwin house would be demolished using a 27 meter high-reach excavator fitted with a ‘cracker’ attachment, this was the most suitable way of demolishing the structure. The cracker was used to do exactly as the name suggests and 'crack away' the concrete which encased the steel beams, the beams would then be exposed allowing a ‘top burner’ operative, accessing from scaffolding, to ‘sit cut’ the steel, using a hot cutting torch. This method was used to progressively deconstruct the building; this highly controlled technique was a necessity due to the close proximity of the neighbouring flats.
Once all the buildings had been successfully demolished, Matthews (Sussex) Ltd were contracted to remove all foundations and install a piling mat for the subsequent piling works. It was during these works that a buried WW2 Bomb was discovered buried under the ground!
Here are some of the pictures of the huge unexploded Blitz bomb putting lives at 'significant risk' in central London. The British Army bomb squad removed the 5ft-long Second World War device from the site without letting it explode. If the 550lb bomb were to have gone off, it would have obliterated nearby buildings and damaged homes up to 650ft away - including flats on six housing estates. Thousands of residents within the 650ft zone were ordered to leave after they were warned they risked their lives by staying. Many of the 1,200 households that were affected decamped to a nearby leisure centre, fearful for their homes. But that didn't stop one brave disposal expert getting so close to the bomb he was practically hugging it!
Experts did encounter some problems because the fuse was thought to be underneath the enormous Nazi device. Once it was removed the bomb was deemed to be in a safer state to move out of London and blow up in a controlled detonation at a Kent Quarry (Watch the explosion on our YouTube Channel here)
A flyer to local residents said: "On Monday 23 March a 550lb German air dropped bomb was found on a building site in Grange Walk, Bermondsey.
"The Army disposal team have advised that if the bomb explodes, buildings in the 200-metre zone will be significantly damaged and those close to the bomb will be destroyed.
"Remaining in your home is placing your life at significant risk. This course of action is not advised."
The 70-year-old device caused chaos after it was found on the site because it was so near to the capital's Victorian landmark- Tower Bridge, roads had to be closed from the bridge due to the significant risk posed. The device was originally thought to weigh 1,000lb but once extracted, experts said it weighed in at 550lb.
Two local schools - the Kintore Way nursery and Harris Academy - were evacuated as worried parents arrived on the scene and an emergency response centre was set up.
Animals were also evacuated from a nearby vet surgery as reported by a local SE1 website.
Matthews (Sussex) Ltd were commended on their controlled and speedy emergency response to the situation; stopping all works immediately, shutting down all heavy plant, contacting the police, evacuating and securing the site. Once the Police and Army Bomb Disposal team arrived to site, a 100 metre exclusion zone was set-up and the area was secured. “We were invited to a crisis meeting with the Army and the Police where they asked us to produce a specific site plan detailing the location of all Heavy Plant, Fuel Storage, Oxygen and Propane storage, once we had done this we were asked to accompany them to the site in order to relocate all the heavy plant and to create an access road into the site to allow the Army vehicles and equipment to safely approach the Bomb” said Site Manager Jakub Nowak. The Army worked throughout the night to make the device safe for transit and removed it from site where it was transported to a quarry in Kent and subsequently detonated. Once all this activity was finished and the site was deemed to be safe, Matthews (Sussex) Ltd team returned to site to safely complete the contract works.