Explore Europe in design aboard the Belmond Specific

The Telegraph

London’s 116-ton magic formula

It can be the smell that hits you: a complex bouquet of oil, metallic, concrete dust, moist and age. Overhead lamps flick on and through grimy home windows you can see people today passing on London’s Southwark Avenue, a several hundred yards south of Tate Modern-day. None of them glance within. Why would they? It’s just a Victorian creating with a handful of notices pasted on to its double doorways: open up at weekends, volunteers necessary, closed for now. Inside, nevertheless, functioning from one stop to the other, is Kirkaldy’s Universal Screening Device, a inexperienced, cast-iron behemoth of Heath Robinson-type eccentricity. Above it, hoist chains cling from the ceiling on sliding gantries, and a huge foundation bed anchors it to the ground. It is 47 feet 6 inches lengthy, weighs some 116 extensive tons and its anchor chains go down to a two-ton stack of weights in the basement. This has to be one particular of London’s most significant and best-held insider secrets. It was designed in 1865 and is a person of the world’s earliest surviving screening machines. It however functions, powering up like an old warhorse to exhibit off its expertise in tension (pulling), compression (pushing) or malleability (bending) on a ‘test piece’ up to 20ft extended, held rapidly by mighty iron clamps. It can be adapted to examination torsion, punching and bulging.