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Our history 1972


In 1972, Vanguard provided expertise for the second-ever tightrope walk across the River Thames by German dare-devil Franz Burbach.

Franz’s greatest ambition was to be the first man to tightrope across the River Thames. He had the ability, and the courage, but lacked the technical expertise and equipment to rig his rope. He contacted Vanguard for advice and to his relief they confidently replied “no problem”.

Two suitable warehouses were chosen – on the north bank in the City of London, Bull Wharf, and Bear Wharf, Southwark, on the south bank. We calculated the stresses to be superimposed on both buildings and via a complicated series of pulley blocks and winches were able to safely distribute the strain throughout the structures.
In 1997, we were called on to assist with another attempt, this time by a double-act, Didier Pasquette and Jade Kinder Martin. We anchored each end of the steel tightrope to two 120-ton cranes, then used winches to apply the final tension to the tightrope for their record-breaking event.

Our History