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When: December 2016
Where: Outside of Houses of Parliament

On a bitterly cold early December morning, the London Fire Brigade set about raising over £1million for Evelina London Children’s Hospital by setting up London’s “most terrifying zip wire” across the Thames.

Livett’s teamed up with the LFB to ensure the zip wire was correctly and safely installed as daredevil fundraisers made the stomach-churning trip over the river. Here’s how Livett’s made it happen:


Our primary role in this job was to help both rig and de-rig the zip wire structure and provide the essential braking system for the wire itself over the River Thames. Starting from the 52-metre high roof of St Thomas’ Hospital, the 450-metre zip wire took those brave enough to do it on a journey to Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament.

The primary Livett’s vessel used in the job was the ever-versatile Scheldemond I. In the dead of the night, London Fire Brigade crew on board the vessel took the zip wire from the roof of St Thomas’ and on to the river. Here, the wire was hauled across the Thames, maintaining tension at all times above the water. This operation was carried out slowly, smoothly, safely – and successfully thanks to the Scheldemond I’s incredible manoeuvrability.

london fire brigade zip wire

The Scheldemond I in position on the Thames with the zip wire above

Once the zip wire was passed from south-to-north safely and lifted to its intended height, Scheldemond I spudded herself into position underneath – some 15-metres from the north bank of the Thames.

A sophisticated braking system devised by LFB was attached to the zip wire and rigged to the spud legs on board the deployed Scheldemond I. The weight and stability of her provided the perfect anchoring point of the braking system, allowing daredevils to slow their 40mph top speed after their crossing.

The specialist craft sat in position for 24 hours as the event unfolded and successfully. Once the one day only event had concluded, the Scheldemond I smoothly carried the zip wire back over to the south shore.

As you may imagine, a job like this provided immense planning to ensure safety and success. Livett’s provided the LFB with crucial advice on tides and a solution on the wire’s placement and anchoring. The experience we’ve gathered over the years – particularly with the Jaguar XF high-wire water crossing – proved vital.

Best of all, we are delighted to say that LFB smashed its fundraising target – making the event a complete success all round.

Naturally, the eye-catching stunt caught the attention of the press. Here’s a selection of some of the coverage of the day:

Evening Standard: London’s most terrifying zip wire opens with ride across the Thames

Independent: Daredevils fly over River Thames on zip wire to raise £1m for charity

BBC: River Thames zip wire raises £1m for charity


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