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Jordan Edge, tower block window cleaner
Photograph: Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a tower block window cleaner

James FitzGerald

…according to Jordan Edge, 27.

There’s more glass to clean in London than ever before

‘All the tall new structures being built are great news for anyone in my job. The Broadgate Tower in the City is 33 storeys high, so by the time we’ve finished cleaning it, it’s time to start it again. Other sites, like the Nova Building in Victoria, take a while because of their odd shapes. You can spend three hours rigging up the ropes, and just 15 minutes actually scrubbing the windows.’

Being an adrenaline junkie helps

‘The first time I saw one of the buildings we were going up, I pretty much ran a mile. But you quickly lose that fear and get excited about going higher and higher. I love getting to look over London early in the morning when the city’s nice and quiet.’

You find some rare wildlife on London’s high-rises

‘Once you’re experienced on the abseil, Londoners come to you asking for all kinds of help. I once got asked by a bird protection agency to go down the side of a building to rescue an egg in a nest, while a falcon was trying to peck at me!’

Window-cleaning can be the safest job in the world – or the riskiest

‘People do get hurt sometimes, because there are some dodgy companies out there that take risks, but my company, NJC, is not one of them. Part of my job is to make sure everything is safely attached to the building at all times. The only thing I’ve ever seen fall was years ago and it was my own wallet. It had £200 in it and a homeless gentleman down below helped me pick up every last note.’

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