You can’t photograph the Thames cable car

“No photos, you can’t take photos”.

That’s what I was told yesterday, 27th March, just before 11am by the Mace construction site banksman whilst I was taking a photograph of the top of the 60m south cable car tower at the O2 in Greenwich:

Rollers at the top of the south Thames cable car tower - 27 March 2012

Rollers at the top of the south Thames cable car tower

Photographs of the Thames cable car are not allowed

Why? I was standing on the pavement of East Parkside which is just outside the Mace construction site entrance.

I explained I was in a public place and was allowed to take photos but the banksman  would only elaborate to add “management say no photos” and “No, no photos, people have been taking advantage of it”. 

After a minute or so of getting nowhere, he had to deal with a lorry entering the site so I finished taking the photographs I wanted, then short for time, left, having already planned to go back when the light was better.

The white south tower I was photographing in North Greenwich by the way is 60 meters high and will weigh about 568 tonnes when it’s finished. It’s the tallest and the only one of the three cable car towers that is built in the Thames itself. It’s huge and you can’t miss it!

North and intermediate towers of Thames cable car with crane and aeoroplane - 27 March 2012

North and intermediate cable car towers – as seen across the river from North Greenwich

The right to take photographs from public places

Everyone has a right to take photographs from public places, but there are more and more people like this banksman (and his management) who just decide to make up the law.

As I was leaving North Greenwich I tweeted to @phnat that I’d just been told I couldn’t take photos of cable car construction from the pavement.

I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist (phnat) are campaigning against this sort of nonsense which continues to infringe on the basic rights of anyone with a camera – especially big ones! Please visit their website at to find out more.

Phat retweeted my original tweet and I’m extremely grateful to both them and everyone who replied or contacted me – all confirming we have a right to take photographs from public places. It’s not the first time I’ve been stopped in a public place and unfortunately for many of us, I’m sure it won’t be the last.

The construction of Emirates Air Line crossing (aka cable car) is such a significant part of London 21st century construction history.

But as phnat say, photography is under attack and risks becoming a part of that history, rather than helping us to record it.