Venerable insurance market Lloyd’s is planning to go to court to prevent a new trend in risky business: people scaling its iconic building.
Lloyd’s will seek to ban thrill-seekers from “entering or climbing” its Lime Street headquarters, as well as “instructing or encouraging” others via social media like Youtube, Facebook, and Snapchat, according to court documents published on its website.
Over the last five years there have been at least 49 instances of people attempting to scale the building, but during 2017 there were at least 21 as part of the burgeoning “urban exploration” movement, the documents said.
The Lloyd’s Building is widely regarded as an architectural landmark. It was designed by star architect Richard Rogers, and completed in 1986.
However, an unintended consequence of the building’s famed “inside-out” design is that it is an attractive target for climbers, with pipes, staircases and lifts all on the outside.
Eight of the urban explorers have given Lloyd’s assurances that they will not climb the Lloyd’s Building again, and have been forced to remove social media posts on the climbs.
The injunction application notes that the “commercial viability” of the practice, which can be monetised on sites such as Youtube, makes the likelihood of further trespassers “extremely high”.
One of the named defendants climbing the Lloyd’s Building alone at least six times and documenting it for followers, while another is estimated by a private security firm hired by Lloyd’s to earn as much as £169,000 per year from his Youtube channel.
Lloyds has upped its spending on security by £81,000 this year in response to the disturbances, with extra patrols, cameras, and even an intercom system on the roof.
A date for the hearing, first reported by the Financial Times, has not been set.