Cheesegrater Bolts


What weighs 60kg (130 lbs) and pops?

Answer: a bolt from the support stanchions at the recently-completed 47-storey Leadenhall Building on Leadenhall Street in the heart of the financial district in London.

The bolts are five inches in diameter and three have broken apart. After the first two broke, British Land which owns the building had the remaining bolts tethered in place with plastic ties. That prevented the third bolt from falling to the ground.

The reason the bolts are failing is because of what is called hydrogen embrittlement – growing cracks in the metal caused by the presence of hydrogen in the manufacturing process.

The building is colloquially known as the Cheesegrater because of the way it slopes – narrowing towards the top.

The building was built this way to conform with planning requirements to maintain views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and other classical buildings.

The building is directly across the road from another iconic building – the Lloyds Building


And here is a view of the side of the Lloyds Building (the building on the left) showing its ‘inside out’ design with all the pipe-work on the outside.



I took these photos with my phone and I sized the photos for use on the Web using the Reduce app.

And I am posting this article using the WordPress mobile app – so we really have reached the situation now where all that is needed to blog is a phone and an Internet connection.


  1. KokkieH says:

    So, if I understand you correctly, a huge building is being held up by cable ties? If I ever visit London again I’ll be giving that one a very wide berth.


    1. Yes, that’s correct. I think there are 3,000 bolts that are potentially going to fail. They are going to replace them all, I think.

      I couldn’t help a little schadenfreude – mostly because I heartily dislike the ring of glass and steel that has surrounded the City like the invaders in War Of The Worlds – and an image pops into my mind of the Cheesegrater sliding to the ground and rivets flying across the road to the Lloyds Building. I bet the Lloyds people are nervous. Who do they insure with???

      One thing – watching the many, many workers working on these buildings and also reading about the huge amount of excavation and building going on underground with the Crossrail links – I can see how London is an economic powerhouse.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. rebkin says:

    London sure is looking different now. Interesting thought about the Lloyds and who they’d insure with. Perhaps the Norwegian insurance company, SKULD [=guilt] 🙂


    1. Yes, the City Of London – the financial district – is filling up with glass and steel skyscrapers.

      Liverpool Street station is completely transformed. It was completely redeveloped some years ago with a shopping complex on two levels.


      1. rebkin says:

        Must be a goldmine for nice reflections, when taking photos … otherwise … I don’t know. Hard to imagine it has been 30+ years since I was there. Hoping to go back one day.


        1. Maybe we will meet up for a photowalk there 🙂


        2. rebkin says:

          That would be awesome … tea and cucumber sandwiches afterwards in Fortnum & Masons 🙂


        3. It’s a deal – cucumber sandwiches.


          Liked by 1 person

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