Above: Red-hot steel billet is pre-formed into a flight bar (a mining component) on Brockhouse’s No 9 hammer.
Above: Here steel billet is pre-heated for forging in an upsetter, which increases the diameter of the workpiece by compressing its length.
Above: In the heat treatment area, Brockhouse operatives drag newly heat-treated forgings off trays and into a steel container.
Above: Checking the diameter of a still red-hot crankshaft with a vernier.
Tasked with photographing two contrasting facets of the £1billion London Power Tunnels Project, Charlie found himself at the House of Commons, where a parliamentary reception and science workshop were held to celebrate National Grid’s work with over 4,500 school pupils across London. The event was part of a wider initiative to promote STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in schools and inspire the next generation of engineers. The workshop saw local youngsters tackling practical science experiments and, just as crucially, letting off steam in the process.
Heading below ground, Charlie witnessed the London Power Tunnels Project at first hand. In February 2011, National Grid embarked upon a seven-year project to rewire the capital via underground tunnels, in order to meet increasing electricity demand. The project is essential to provide London with a safe and reliable electricity transmission network in the future. Captured here, the breakthrough moment for ‘Evelyn’, the competition-winning name of a Tunnel Boring Machine, as it connects with an access shaft near Harlesden in north-west London - cause for modest celebration in itself.
Taking photographs in hazardous environments is both stimulating and rewarding, but it comes at a cost. To maintain his OPITO accreditation, Charlie recently refreshed his Further Offshore Emergency Training (FOET) - a challenge every bit as arduous as it sounds. Having emerged unscathed from simulated conflagrations and submerged helicopters, he was declared fit and ready to continue working in the most hostile industrial settings for another four years. He’ll take that over a roomful of rampaging schoolchildren, any day.