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Unexploded bomb causes Bermondsey architects to leave office

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Michael Trentham Architects (MTA) evacuated from its office after huge Second World War bomb is found next door

The practice, based at Grange Yard in SE1, is in the midst of preparing a competition entry but has been unable to operate from its base since early on Monday morning (23 March) after the unexploded 1,000lb device was discovered by construction workers on an adjacent building site off Grange Walk.

Army engineers are still working to make safe the bomb, whose discovery has led to the evacuation of hundreds of local residents and the closure of nearby Tower Bridge.

Trentham said: ‘Hopefully will be back in later today…if it goes off our offices will be gone.

‘We’re only three people but it’s been difficult because it’s the second day of this.

If it goes off our offices will be gone

‘This thing has been there for 70 odd years and is the weight of a small car. It was hit by digger when [the builders’] were excavating the site but that didn’t set it off.

‘We were actually in the middle of a competition but everyone is having to go home and work on laptops.

He added that the builders were demolishing an old NHS Trust building on the site as part of plans for a 160 home scheme there.

‘Every building around us has been demolished over the past eight years and the irony is that this is the last building to go,’ he said.

A precautionary cordon and 656ft (200m) exclusion zone have been put in place and a wall has been built around the unexploded bomb.

In a leaflet given to residents, the Metropolitan Police said: ‘If the bomb explodes buildings in the 200m zone will be significantly damaged and those close to the bomb will be destroyed.

‘Remaining in your home is placing your life at significant risk.’

MTA offers services including architecture, urban planning and interior design and describes its work as ranging from Grade II Listed refurbishments and extensions to modern new build schemes.

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