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Thursday, 19 November 2015

The day the crane collided with a cross

Usually, there's sky to look at as I gaze through our newsroom windows. And as I walk to the window, I can look down at Jubilee Square , which is a piazza with trees, walkways and grass.

But for the last couple of days, all I 've been able to see is this.

It's a Wheel of Light, a large one at that and it 's been erected in time for the Christmas Lights switch on here in Leicester. From the window, the 110 foot high big wheel it looks rather lovely

I love the arcs and angles of the metal catching the light against a blue sky...

And I walked back into work yesterday after driving across the county to do some interviews, I admired the reflection of the Wheel of Light in the glass at the entrance to our BBC building.

But, the morning before, Jim Davis, the breakfast presenter and I had been discussing what was going on outside as the crane and workmen were working away to get the big structure into the sky. Storm Barney was gathering pace and we both agreed that it was very optimistic to be putting something so huge into the sky on such a blustery, gusty day.

Well, that was it we thought, and when I left work that night , I was too busy being blown about in the wind while scurrying to the car park to notice that anything was amiss.

But there was, because that evening there was an incident...involving Leicester's historic High Cross monument standing adjacent to the crane and the Wheel of Light.

A monument which used to look like this

This column was one of eight pillars arranged in a circle which held up a dome shaped roof  and gave shelter at this very spot from the sixteenth century. In the photo above you can see the stone ball and the gold cross which glinted in the sunshine....well, it did until Tuesday night, when the crane smashed into it.

So I didn't have to walk very far to my first story of the day yesterday. The poor High Cross looked very sorry for itself, and by the time I left work last night, it looked even worse, illuminated by some of the lights of the Wheel of Light.


Luckily though, all the pieces were retrieved, and are now safely under lock and key, and stone masons are already deciding what to do.

The Wheel of Light opens on Sunday, and there will be hundreds of visitors wanting a ride on it to look out  over the city - I just hope they give a thought to the historic, but battered High Cross by its side.



  1. Awful, but avoidable accident. I can't even begin to think how it could have come close to happening given all the historic considerations in the area including the cross.
    I wonder what any risk assessments/method statements refer to if they were submitted. It shouldn't have even been close!

    1. I can't answer your question re the risk assessments, but I hear that the crane driver was devastated....

  2. It looks imposing, the wheel that is, not the poor injured monument. I do hope we get our Highcross Cross back intact soon.

    1. The wheel does look imposing,but I 'm sure the Highcross cross wil be back soon...