back to article Shell's London office UNDER WATER and besieged by GIANT EELS

Royal Dutch Shell's London headquarters has been shuttered since Monday (15 November) after the River Thames decided to pour into the iconic office building. The Register understands that the oil giant's Shell Centre, which stands on London’s South Bank in Waterloo, is awash with water from the River Thames, scuppering …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    At least if the flooding is confined to the basement then they should not be able to fill their helicopter

    1. steveie_b


      They should be able to fill their hovercarft though.....

      Meanwhile at the tobacconists

      ....would you like to come back to my place bouncy bouncy

      1. Andus McCoatover

        My hovercraft is full of eels

        Better in Finnish...

        "Ilmatyynyalukseni on täynnä ankeriaita"

        Bit harder to say, though

        Hungarian (both according to Google Translate:)

        "A légpárnás hajóm tele van angolnákkal"

    2. BorkedAgain

      Eels up inside yer

      Finding an entrance where they can...

      1. Oliver 7

        First Boosh reference

        Douze points!

  2. Tom Watson 1
    IT Angle


  3. Anonymous Coward

    Wet again

    "The company’s London office at one point contained a travel agency, hairdresser, restaurants and bars, a gym, bank, cinema and huge swimming pool – all operating underneath the tower."

    Nice to see that the swimming pool has been reopened.

  4. Sir Adam-All
    Thumb Down

    Server Room in a basement ??

    Server room in a basement, next to a river ???

    1. Pandy06269
      IT Angle

      Saved me some keystrokes

      Exactly what I was going to say! Wonder which genius thought that up?

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Wonder which genius thought that up?

        BOFH, natch!

      2. Peter Simpson 1
        Thumb Up

        "Why not use river water to cool the servers?"

        Not quite *that* much river water...but the servers are cool.

        [this cries out to be included in a future BOFH column]

    2. OrientalHero

      consider it beaten!

      Rumour has it that Chessingtons World of Adventure had a server room located under the log flume ride!

    3. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Exactly what I was thinking!

      Lots of companies have server rooms in basements, which has always bothered me! IT take all the crap locations, "We don't want nasty server rooms in view of the office so down to the depths of Hades with you foul IT demons!".

      This is all very well, but liquids, like most things on earth, have a tendency to follow the laws of gravity and head downwards at the first opportunity. Liquids having the advantage of squeezing into smaller gaps than other objects like rocks, pencils, giraffes, etc.

      Once worked in a place where the sewage main burst right under the server room, it was about 2 inches from the base of the cabs before it starting dropping. The clean-up and removing the stench was a very long job indeed!

  5. Peter Foulkes

    Drama at Shell

    "The company’s London office at one point contained a travel agency, hairdresser, restaurants and bars, a gym, bank, cinema and huge swimming pool – all operating underneath the tower."

    And also a theatre, complete with fly tower (you can see it from the river bank side if you look carefully). I was shown around the theatre in 2003, quite an odd experience as it was all completely intact but had been unused for around 5 years by that point.

  6. IglooDude


    sounds vaguely BOFH-ish.

  7. Andrew 98



  8. Vulch

    Eels in the lift?

    Simon, is this something to do with you?

    "Hello, IT helldesk", "Yes, the server is down. It's due to..." shuffle to todays excuse... "Static discharges from the eels."

  9. Lottie

    In communist russia

    river polutes oil firm (yes, I know it's in london, but why let geography get in the way!).

    Sounds like a mental place to have worked at in its heyday. I wish my office had a hairdressers...

    1. gerryg


      ...more through the looking glass than communist russia IMHO

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Somewhat strained poetic justice, but marvellous none the less.

      So when your drives start to squeal 'cos they've trapped a big eel...

      That's a-moray.

  10. Llyander
    Paris Hilton

    Do we know...

    If they're Shrieking Eels? :)

    And Paris, because I'm sure she'd have an eel as a pet.

    1. Goat Jam

      An eel for a pet?

      But where would she keep it?


  11. CaptainHook


    The biological UPS, those servers should be humming along.

  12. Dick Head

    Also a theatre, a general store and a rifle range in the basement... least when I worked there back in the early 1970s. I whiled away many evenings during transport strikes burning up the ammunition they paid for until the crowds on the suburban lines had died down. They also had a full medical and dental service in the Upstream building which was useful on occasion. However, the crowning glory was the Lensbury employee club in Teddington. Once you had been there you could have no doubt the oil companies were making money hand over fist.

    At that time the computers (Univac 1108s, IBM 360s) were in the Downstream building on the first floor, but I believe that building was sold off and converted to appartments.

    Quite takes me back...haven't lived in Blighty since 1978.

    1. D@v3


      Worked there myself a few years back. It was also one of their BCP sites, I wonder if their getting any action from this...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shell involved in another toxic spill..

    yes the Thames is that bad...

  14. Anonymous John

    A surfeit of lampreys

    I for one welcome our new [whatever the adjective for eels is] overlords.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      I believe you are looking for


  15. Neil Greatorex

    It also contained a surgery

    I went for an interview there, in the 70's, which included a full medical (?)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If this office is anything like their old Manchester offices...

    Then yes, the servers are in the basement, as we now have a couple of racks of servers down under the old shell building in Manchester, not a bad set up either, but then we're not next to river up here!

    Judging by the design of the building I'd say that was opened around the '60s as well

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The Shell building in Manchester

      is also there to make concrete multi-storey car parks look attractive in comparison

  17. Christoph


    Were these eels just swimming about, or did they form a conger line?

  18. Anonymous Coward


    They couldn't manage the stairs so they took the eelevator.

  19. Richard Pennington 1

    Wasn't that Monty Python?

    Your lift shaft is full of eels...

  20. Daemon ZOGG

    " awash with water from the River Thames"

    Rumor has it. . . It is to become Shell's new London Offshore Division. ;P

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Shell seems to have been visited 'The Hitcher'

    They obviously didn't pay the 1000 euros protection money.

    "Eels up inside ya,

    Findin' an entrance where they can..."

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Most of the IT equipment has gone...

    This building is a mere shadow of its former self - most of the big servers have gone, and there was only ever a small basement area where a few midrange servers were located. Most servers were on upper floors.

  23. someone up north

    how ever it come out you can't be sure of SHELL

    those were the days

  24. Graham Bartlett

    Frigging in the rigging...

    ...And by the squeals, we knew the eels

    Had found her private quarters

    Oh, frigging in the rigging, frigging in the rigging, etc..

  25. Dennis

    Catching eels

    How are they going to catch the eels that have invaded the building ?

    If the radio series is a guide then they need to hire some elephants.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pool is still there...

    ... among other things a scuba diving club use it for training

  27. Munchausen's proxy

    Local Hero

    So, they're giving up the refinery and opening the Happer Institute?

  28. LinkOfHyrule
    Thumb Up

    I thought this was another one of "those" stories

    Wow, this is funny! I'm shocked this story is true - I thought this was another one of those stories from the Register with a totally bonkers, not what it first seems, headline!

    I was expecting another story about a google earth mistake which had placed the Shell building in the middle of the Thames or something!

    I just love the thought of some oil exec pushing the call button for the lifts and moments later "ding", door opens and out pours a torrent of eel infester water!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least someone's swimming in it.

    I remember 20 years ago, on my first night out in London, listening to some drunken (old) architect in a pub on Charing Cross Road, saying that planning permission was dependent on them building an olympic swimming pool for public use.

    So they said ok, and then built it two inches too short so it could never be used for competitions, thus making it useless.

    No idea whether it was true. The man was hideously drunk, which is coincidentally what I'm going to be by 6 o'clock.

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      title goes here apparently

      I've heard this story about swimming pools either accidentally or on purpose, being built slightly to small, a couple of times before but I cant remember if it was referring to the Shell building. Maybe that drunk architect was the original source of it!

    2. Anonymous Coward

      The way I heard it...

      The story I heard about a certain swimming pool was that the dimensions were absolutely accurate, up until the point where it was lined with tiles which threw things off a little. Was suggested as being more of a drawing cockup than a deliberate plan.

      I also remember hearing a story about some slightly non-standard material being used as aggregate substitute in the concrete, at least in the foundations, as it made a discrete way of disposing of certain surplus components.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think I should tell you Llyander, the eels don't get her at this time, just in case you're worried.

  31. Gareth 7

    Not when I was there

    Last time I worked there, the comms rooms were on the higher floors. There was a tunnel which lead between the two buildings where some of the cabling went, that was in the basement. Oh and the rifle range of course, oh and the olymic size (less 2 inches) swimming pool in the basement, that's all.

    The data centre(s) now they were a different matter. Even the locals didn't know where they were or what they did. Same with most data centres I've worked in - well away from any threat of disaster and running in tandem with others just on the off chance. You don't see them on any maps.

  32. ian 22

    A Shell of its former self?

    If I put my ear to the building, can I hear the ocean?

    Mine's the one with the eel liquor sauce in the pocket.

  33. takuhii


    "Eels up inside ya, finding an entrance where they can..."

    Couldn't happen to a nicer company I say... What were your profits this year shell, oh yes $4.8bn. sure you can spare the change to fix the offices up, or will our petrol prices go up to cover that too!!

  34. Stevie


    Kudos to Shell for deploying the world's first Schrodinger's Server Room.

  35. Daniel B.

    Shell's UPS

    In case of losing power, they must be using ELECTRIC EELS!!!

  36. Sillyfellow


    it's the revenge of the sea.. oh, hang on. that was BP...

    oh hold up.. it's a river. damn. hehe :?)

    would put 'joke alert' but karma is real. an its commin ta get ya. so, welcome it is then !

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Those aren't eels in the elevators!!

    ...Its just that the Legal Department is moving floors!!

    Also known as:

    What's the difference between a lawyer and an eel? One's a slimy bottom-dweller, and the other's a fish!

  38. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Think of the poor

    Eel meat again, don't know where, don't know when ...

    Ok, OK.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Shell Crack'd

    I hope it doesn't take this oil company three months to plug the leak...

  40. Allan Hawdon

    submarine IT

    I'm not surprised. I'm now retired, but I worked for about 25 years in IT and every organization

    I worked for had their gear in the basement. One of these was by the Thames, like Shell.

    The, as it was known then, Machine Room was three floors below the river level. These were

    extremely expensive mainframes. Madness.

  41. ReadyPeople

    60's architecture, farcical scenario...

    must be an 'Eeeling' Comedy

    My coat is the damp one with the Ruby developer job spec in the pocket

  42. martin 62
    Thumb Up


    well eel be damned

  43. bugalugs

    But how

    will they elver get it to dry out ?

  44. Anonymous Coward

    You guys do know...

    ...that it was the backup datacentre that went down on the 16th, and that the main datacentre had been down for six days prior, right?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Servers in the basement?

    Surely this is a legacy of the times when servers weighed a lot more than they do now?

  46. Camilla Smythe

    Do What Do What...

    Oi, 'Av a Banana...

    Any time of any day, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah..

    You'll find us all doing the Lambeff Walk


    Maybe it's becoz a'I'm a landerner that I luv landon town...

    Tra la la la la


    Squreeeeeeee PtShhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....

    Eeel Problim Mate!!?


    Luv a Duck, I just happened to be passing with this lorry tanker full of gelatine. Where do I stick the pipe?

    Uhm, here?

    Squreeeeeeee PtShhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....

    Do What Dick?


    Buttons init.

    Hook up my son....

    Pumpa Pumpa Pumpa




    Here they come..

    Aaaaaaannnnnnnnneeeeeeee Time your Lambeff Way, Oi, hav a banana...






    Squeaky clean now Guv ay?

    Gosh, thanks. How...

    Nah Mate, Nah Mate, Doo What? Call it a favour. Glad to help out.




    Nice reception Dick.

    Thanks Clive.

  47. Flippin' Foreigner

    Smeels like Thames

    I got called to Shell Centre on last Tuesday morning. Most of the fishes, goo and debris was cleared with just couple millimeters of mud on the -1 level comms room floor. Stank pretty gross. Some equipment got zapped, by eels or water short-circuiting them, no one knows :P

    Tough shit placing one of the comms rooms below waterline... and by far not the only place in London for that matter.

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