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1991 Buckingham Palace history

Buckingham Palace

Vanguard were contracted to dismantle and remove the existing air conditioning plant from the roof of the south west wing of Buckingham Palace.

On the chosen day, their team and huge GCI mobile tower crane arrived at the Palace at 0600 hours to find the Royal Ensign flying signifying the Queen was in residence. All permissions had been granted, all the systems were in place and it was too late to cancel the project and so Vanguard were asked to keep the noise to a minimum.

As planned, the huge crane reduced tyre pressure and literally crept under the arch with 10mm to spare. Once in the courtyard it was erected to its full height, enabling it to lift to a height of 100 metres at a radius of 55.

Vanguard immediately started work only to find they were the only act in a Royal Command Performance. Every ½ hour, one of the Queen’s household would appear and initially advised their team that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were most interested in the performance and had a running commentary for each act.

Vanguard’s foreman received the Royal runner at regular intervals throughout the day explaining the action, namely: Act 1, the removal of the old plant and its transport off site; Act 2, preparing the vacated area to receive the new plant; Act 3, lifting the new plant to site; Act 4, assembling the new plant; Act 5, derigging and dismantling the crane and leaving the courtyard via that tight tunnel.

It is understood Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh were delighted by the performance and impressed by Vanguard’s grit and determination. It poured it down all day yet the work was completed exactly as scheduled.

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