The ‘iron fighters’ of 1928
Images appeared recently in the Daily Mail showing construction workers known as ‘iron fighters’ hanging from Rubery Owen Steel frames on London's tallest skyscraper in 1928.
Construction workers, known as ‘iron fighters’ or ‘human flies’, can be seen on the site of the London Transport headquarters hanging from steel structures without any support and dressed smartly in waistcoats and leather shoes. The Health and Safety at Work Act did not come into force until 1974, so it was common to see men climbing to dizzy heights without a harness.
In 1928, 55 Broadway, London, was the tallest office block, standing at 53.3 metres tall. It was built with stone encasing our steel frame and was greatly anticipated before the reveal in 1929. The building was the first ‘Skyscraper’ in London, designed by Charles Holden, and after the two-year build, 55 Broadway went on to win Charles the RIBA London Architectural Medal in 1931. Still standing, the building has now been turned into luxury apartments.
Rotech Laboratories parent company Rubery Owen had a works laboratory in Darlaston to test and analyse all materials before going into production and voila!... the beginning of Rotech Laboratories.
Credits for the photos Media Drum.