I really don’t know how we always get these unusual calls, but yet again we get the ” I have a small job for you to look at” call…..so of course we respond.
This time it was to look at a pigeon problem in a clock tower in Camberwell, London. One of the problems we had was not being able to gain access to the site to do a proper survey, so the client (who we have worked with on many occasions) took some pictures of the site, the access and the extent of the problem so we could estimate the costs and time to complete … but they kept a few things from us..
This particular site is used a lot for filming various things, so access is very limited and has to be booked well in advance of any shoot going on. When the client sent over the initial pictures, the tower was in mid renovation, so scaffolding towers and nice simple access was in place, however when we eventually came to do the job, all the simple access had been long removed. The only access to this clock tower was a small vertical internal ladder to a roof void, then climbing out onto the roof via a velux window….interesting to say the least!
When we did finally get to the clock tower, the full extent of the problem became clear. The tower itself was quite small, but so was the entrance hatch, and the working space. Pigeons have been using this tower for over 200 years, so you can only imagine what a state it was in.
First things first, assess the current infestation of birds, close down all access points to stop further ingress and check for trapped birds. The choice of proofing was very simple – weld mesh installed inside the actual tower. Some feeble attempt had been made quite a few years ago from the outside by the look of it, but with an infestation such as this (and with the impossible access to the tower) a permanent and maintenance free solution was required.
Once the bird proofing of the clock tower was completed, then the long painful task of removing 200 years of pigeon droppings, nesting materials, carcasses and thousands of insect larvae could begin.
As I said, getting inside the tower was a tight squeeze, even for one person, so to get 2 people inside and have enough space to work was really difficult. As we started to remove the layers, it soon became clear that there was much more to this than we first saw in the pictures. The initial images showed a single bell and all supporting beams, but as we started to excavate through the guano, a second bell slowly started to appear….then deeper still a third bell appeared!
The client had no idea that the tower held 3 bells and was delighted with the discovery, so much so that she insisted on coming up onto the roof to see them, overcoming a huge fear of heights in the process (with our help of course).
After two full-on days and approx 1.5 tonnes of bird faeces, nesting materials etc later, the bell tower was finally cleaned and safe once more. The plans are to renovate the clock workings and reinstate the chimes to their original condition. The date found during our excavations put the bells manufacture at 1864 so this small part of history deserves to be preserved.
Whilst we were on site, a music video was being made by Little Mix, so we did have an interesting insight on how music videos were made….by the end of one day we all knew the words and tune off by heart as it was repeated about 50 times at least!
One of the team literally bumped into one of the girls who started to chat with him but he just stood there a bit star struck….we ribbed him relentlessly for the rest of the job of course!
So if you have an interesting or unusual pigeon problem or extreme cleaning problem, Rapid Environmental Services are the people to call – no job too odd or difficult for us to take on so call now on Newbury 01635 247192 to find out more.