STANDING ON THE EDGE OF TIME. - 28th May 2005 London
The Abbey National's Tower is balanced precariously over Baker Street.
Visitors to the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street are brave indeed! As they walk up along the west side of Baker Street towards the famous adress of Sherlock Holmes's lodging house at number 221b, they can gaze up at the towering monolith that once belonged to the Abbey National's former headquarters.
The flag on top of the building (or rather what remains of the building) is no longer flying, and the bell tower clock is stuck ominously at 12 o'clock. The old headquarters of the Abbey National is currently being converted into a block of luxury apartments and the clock should be working again soon.
The current owners and developers of the block are a company called "Baskerville Estates". We assume that the company has no relation to Sir Henry Baskerville, although rumour has it that the descendents of that noble gentleman have turned out to be fairly good business men in the American fashion!
A pair of boots was recently left outside the main entrance, but nobody has yet laid claim to them.
The local council stipulated that the bell tower, for what it is worth, had to be retained in the scheme of the new development, and so the current owners have had to ensure that it is well supported while demolition of the rest of the building takes place around it.
We are advised that the best engineering brains in the country are working on the project and we have received assurances from them that if the tower were to collapse for any reason then it would either fall in the direction of Baker Street or away from it, and not towards the Museum. Phew!
If the tower were to collapse onto the Museum, we would probably become known locally as 'The Sherlock Holmes Pancake House', while some wag has even suggested that we would need to change our name from 'The Sherlock Holmes Museum' to 'The Sherlock Holmes Mausoleum'. In any event, we doubt that Mrs Hudson's bone china tea set would ever be the same again.
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