Sunday, 29 April 2012

Olympics 2012: Missiles on top of Bryant & May Factory?

The old Bryant and May Factory in Fairfield Road in Bow is apparently adding missile site to its other claims to fame.

The factory is famous for many things:
  1. The largest factory in London in the nineteenth century - it had been developed by William Bryant and Francis May in 1861 to make safety matches
  2. This was where the London matchgirls strike of 1888 took place - leading to the first trade union for women
  3. The factory led the fight against phossy jaw - a disease of matchworkers caused by the white phosphorus used in the manufacture of early matches
  4. and now..... the site of missiles to protect the Olympics in 2012.  Apparently the Ministry of Defence require a tall building near the Olympic site for ground-based air defence systems as an anti-terrorist precaution.
The tower at the old Bryant and May Match Factory in Fairfield Road, Bow
- a future site for the missiles?
The factory was converted to residential accommodation in the 1980s and is now a private gated community comprising 19 town houses and 714 apartments - called The Bow Quarter.  

Residents have received an official communication - and it would seem have no choice about the new proposed use of the top of what is the old water tower.
Brian Whelan, a resident of the building, said the MoD leaflet said the missiles would only be fired as a last resort. He said: "They are going to have a test run next week, putting high-velocity missiles on the roof just above our apartment, and on the back of it they are stationing police and military in the tower of the building for two months
The Guardian - Missiles could be stationed on rooftops during London Olympics

UPDATE:  This is the BBC News story about this London 2012: Missiles may be placed at residential flats

Plus Brian Whelan - a journalist who lives in the Bow Quarter (a fact the MoD may live to regret) - was interviewed by The Telegraph on video and has been quoted in many of the papers.  He'a also posted the contents of the leaflet the residents have received "Armed Forces at Lexington Tower Water Tower, Bow Quarter" online on his Tumblr blog

A lot of the papers are quoting the statement about the missile systems not being noisy!  We rather thought the quote below might be the one which goes viral.  
Will having missiles on our building make us a target?Having a 24/7 Armed Forces and Police Presence will improve your local security and will not make you a target for terrorists
Whatever happened to the notion that some terrorists may be of the opinion that it's a good idea to tackle any defences deployed in the area before making an attack?  Or is it only the regular army which is smart enough to do that? (heavy sarcasm!)

They also forgot to tackle the question of whether a terrorist attacking a building housing a missile launching system invalidates their insurance!  

Which event is the MoD spokesman referencing when talking to the BBC about the missile systems - the trial run or the Olympics?
A spokesman said the MoD had not yet decided whether to deploy ground based air defence systems during the event.

Do YOU feel safer living here knowing that there are missiles just down the road?  [end of UPDATE]

Stories about the Olympics

This blog has been intending to publish stories about the weird and wonderful stories about the impact of the Olympics on our local area.

After all, Mile End Stadium and Mile End Leisure Centre will be providing the facilities for the pre-games training camp for Team USA the American Olympic Team

We just weren't quite expecting to lead off with a story about missile sites!

...and what we want to know is where's the planning application and the listed building consent?

(Those who are regular readers of this blog will appreciate the deep irony of the last comment!)

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