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Topping out ceremony Sebastian Street
Karen Hatch
Campus Life Series: Announcements

Seventh floor of City Law School building construction celebrated with topping out ceremony

As the building frame approaches the end of its construction, City’s President, Professor Sir Paul Curran says it is one of several important estate developments that will "serve to define the university we aim to be”.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

The topping out ceremony for the £65M City Law School building took place on Tuesday 19th February. The construction project, undertaken by BAM Construction, stands at the corner of Sebastian Street and Goswell Road and is due to complete next year.

Some 60 members of staff and guests attended the ceremony including President Professor Sir Paul Curran, City Law School Dean, Professor Andrew Stockley, Director of Property & Facilities, Kevin Gibbons, Director of WilkinsonEyre Architects, Chris Wilkinson, officials from BAM Construction and construction planning agency, Turley.

A topping out ceremony marks the point when the last beam (or equivalent) is put in place and signifies that the structure has reached its maximum height.

The ceremony harks back to pre-Dark Age Scandinavia, where ancient lore suggests the tradition of placing a tree on the top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits of displaced ancestors. The practice is believed to have been introduced in England in the 8th century and in 14th century England, topping out ceremonies were observed by placing a yew tree at the highest point of a building.

Sir Paul said the construction of the City Law School building proceeded within a strategic context, starting in 2010 with significant investments in outstanding academics, the development of existing staff and the revitalisation of City’s estate and infrastructure:

Our projects have included new engineering laboratories, underground lecture theatres and our splendid new front entrance. Our investments have transformed the quality of our research and our education and enabled us to join the University of London in 2016. The next stage of City’s journey is to be a leading global university.

Our aspiration to be better and bigger requires new space and different kinds of space and as a result, this building is one of several estate developments that will serve to define the university we aim to be.

Noting that the City Law School's LLB (undergraduate) cohort is the largest of the London Law Schools, Dean of the City Law School, Professor Andrew Stockley said:

This event highlights the City Law School's position as a significant contributor to legal education in England and Wales, both as the largest undergraduate Law School in London and as one of the country’s leading providers of postgraduate and professional legal training. We are looking forward to having our LLB, LLM, Bar training, solicitor training and other programmes together under one roof.

To complete the ceremony, BAM apprentice, Elliott Rowe, presented the President with an engraved trowel.  Sir Paul then laid the final batch of cement for the topping out.

Several objects of archaeological interest were discovered after excavation of the foundations. During the event there was an exhibition of the items in CityBar, alongside a brief time-lapse film showing the construction progress of the new City Law School.

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