Friday 3 April 2009

The "Beast" who cannot sit on the sewers?!

Dear Mr Postman - the "Beast" .. now what is that? .. and what on earth does it have to do with sewage? I know you'll tell us ..

The car market is not dead .... well some cars have been made recently!! ... General Motors' Cadillac One is one of 25 that have been built for the Obama administration. Caddy One has been nicknamed "the Beast". It has some interesting features .. the body is sheathed in 8" military-grade armour, each door weighs as much as a cabin door on a Boeing 747. The windows are ballistic glass and said to be 5" thick. Obviously there's lots more to these cars ... however it is ....

.. the weight of "the Beast" that is the point of this post. It is estimated to weigh between seven and eight tons and this is what could cause a problem to London's sewage system, the infra structure, the underground & the war bunkers dug beneath the streets ... and why the British security forces have been reluctant to let "the Beasts", past and present, pull right up to the entrances in some places - due to the possibility of collapse ..

There's a fun 1 min 30 sec BBC shot of "the Beast" doing a three point turn outside Downing Street .. (& an American anchor woman getting herself ready for her report) - go here to watch! While has a very good article on the Armoured Cadillac.

A brief note on the sewage system .. London had numerous crypts, dungeons, hidey holes, etc but its underground infra structure was only developed from the 1850s - the continuation of the railway from the six terminii bringing the trains to the edge of London expedited the tunnelling expertise allowing "the tube" to be built.

At much the same time the "Great Stink" occurred in London in 1858 .. determining that something had to be done about it! The appointed engineer Joseph Bazalgette had incredible foresight in planning the sewage network .. and due to the sewer diameters used .. it still serves its purpose today .. he'd even allowed for the unforeseen - the 1960s tower blocks increasing the population of London upwards.

The mileage of sewers is quite extraordinary .. the six interceptor sewers totalling nearly 90 miles, were fed by 450 miles of main sewers, which were supplied by another 13,000 miles of smaller local sewers. Construction of the interceptor system required 318 million bricks .. creating an amazing brick vaulted system under London -

Personally I can see why the authorities are somewhat wary of having 'the Beast' using the streets of London ... I'm not sure a President of the United States would be too happy slowly sinking into the sewer system of London! Great thought ...??? a few laughs though .. - my mother and I always laugh when we talk about the time my younger brother aged 2 or 3 fell in our cess pit at home .. silly tales of youth .. but they amuse and keep us laughing ..

My friend Pete Baca is a car enthusiast and is always willing to provide information on new cars, old cars and the car market - or stories from our past .. so please check out his site ...

Thank you Mr Postman for another interesting positive letter .. we can have some laughs with these fun stories .. what's it going to be tomorrow, I wonder? ....
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters


Unknown said...

Hilary, Good post and good info on "Beast" and London underground system. I once heard that NY sewege system carries at least 10 - 100 Aligators and tropical "beast". The underground temporature does not change much and is warm even in severe NY winter. These "beasts" were runnaways from house pet and stay there. It is not safe to explore in NY underground. Don't do 007 thing there.

Thanks again!
Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. thanks for your ideas on the beast of the NY sewage system .. millions of rats too I guess!! I'm not going chasing beasties under NY or for that matter London! ..

Glad you enjoyed it ..
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Peter Baca said...


Very interesting post on "The Beast". The protected vehicles used by the presidents are normal here in the U.S., more so after the Kennedy assassination.

I was aware that many of the cities of the world have a huge underground. What I was anaware of is that they are concerned about heavy vehicles driving on certain areas. The video was a nice addition!

Thank you so much for referring to my blog in your post!

Best Regards

Pete Baca
The Car Enthusiast Online

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pete .. glad you liked the post .. apparently the Administration shipped one over especially for this G20 summit .. whether another one was sent over to Strasbourg for the NATO anniversary .. I didn't note or hear!

Glad you liked the 3 point turn ... I suppose it is logical that the infra structure of cities is quite 'delicate' .. and therefore the weight of these new vehicles is important to know about.

It's a pleasure to give credit to the car enthusiast in my blog .. - thanks so much for supporting me here ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters