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Tag: #london

Reflecting on the 365 days since the country went into lockdown.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of lockdown in the UK. While some restrictions were occasionally lifted, March 23rd, 2020 to March 23rd, 2021 has been a year like no other.

Many people have sadly lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving us to mourn the loss of family and friends. Many of our business partners and friends, especially across the hospitality and events industry, have had to manage enormous impacts on their businesses and their staff, some even closing their doors permanently.

Today, at Gallowglass Security, we have reflected on the past year. All those the country has lost and all those businesses that will not be opening their doors again.

The challenge of the COVID-19 virus has brought out the best in a lot of people. The pandemic and other people’s suffering has seen individuals, businesses, charities and governments work together. We have been lucky to partner with some of those organisations and individuals. As we have reflected, we have thought about the amazing work of some of those organisations and individuals and how their actions made a difference.

Helping the homeless

Special praise must be given to those that helped the homeless throughout the pandemic. Numerous charities and partners came forward to support these often-maligned individuals.

Hotels lent their empty rooms while governments and charities paid the bills, making it all possible. We were fortunate to support Crisis, the GLA, St Mungos and Westminster Council throughout the pandemic and see the impact of their work.

All these organisations deserve immense credit for being relentless in raising this issue in the public and political consciousness and making it happen.

The testing and vaccination centres

In the early stages of the virus’s spread, testing centres were set up across the country to understand the virus and how it was transmitted. In more recent months, vaccination centres have been popping up, helping with the remarkable roll-out of the vaccination program.

The individuals, volunteers and the local governments behind this roll-out, fulfilling the testing and vaccinations, deserve huge credit. We have seen their efforts firsthand in Lambeth. The individuals undertaking the testing have put themselves in harms way to ensure the health of others.

While we were working with them, we became greatly aware of the selflessness of the individuals who conducted the testing and administered the vaccine. They worked tirelessly to get the virus under control and deserve great praise for their ongoing efforts.

Security personnel

When reflecting on the past year, we have often thought about our staff, the wider security sector and the individuals within it. A large amount of our industry’s work went with the lockdown.

However, when many of us were working at home, keeping ourselves and our families safe, those within the security sector continued working.

For our part, our staff have selflessly gone about their jobs, supporting clients and customers throughout, often putting themselves in harms way against a hidden virus.

While many of the security industry may be overlooked, we believe they deserve great praise for their efforts throughout the crisis. Whether they were protecting vaccination centres, hospitals, empty office buildings, people’s homes, businesses or the homeless, they went to work every day to protect others and what matters most to them.

Octavia Hill 1838-1912 Social reformer and founder of The National Trust 1a Garbutt Place, Marylebone

During our work we regularly encounter people in far less fortunate situations than ourselves. This has led us to run extended projects with estate clients, Westminster council and outreach teams where we direct and support those living on the street. During COVID there are many who are unaware of how to connect with the wide range of excellent services available to them, making the role of our teams on the ground ever more important. Our work has been varied from specific medium-term projects to ongoing work done by our foot patrol teams in Marylebone and Bloomsbury and also our response teams on a day-to-day basis. Whist visiting the team undertaking our street patrols and property inspections, I spotted the blue plaque of Octavia Hill in Garbutt place. Although she is best known for being a founding member of the national trust her achievements went beyond this and are very relevant today.


Born into a family of strained finances Octavia Hill was unable to complete a formal education. This did not stop her pioneering not only social housing but social work and shaping the modern landscape. She believed that it was impossible to “deal with people and their houses separately” identifying that where and how we live has a direct impact peoples lives.
Octavia Hill worked with ruthless self-discipline and determination, identifying dilapidated housing and worked with private investors to provide sustainable housing for London’s urban poor. The first of which was on Paradise Place in London’s Marylebone, which later changed its name to Garbutt Place where her plaque is today. The buildings were anything but Paradise, most of the stairs and floor boards had been used by the tenants for firewood and were the worst of Victorian slums. She believed in a partnership between tenant and land lord, where there was responsibility to provide quality housing by one and maintenance by the other.


This led here to lay the foundation stones of not only social housing but also social work. Whilst collecting the rent on a weekly basis she used the opportunity to get to know the tenants and develop a community. Her understanding and insight led to the Settlements Movement, founded on her belief that social harmony was only achievable with mixed communities. This would prevent slums and ghetto type areas emerging. As a city London differs from so many around the globe because of this believe in social mixing, even Mayfair one of the most affluent areas in the world has a very significant amount of social housing provided by organisations such as the Peabody Trust.


Her influence is not felt just in London but hold influences worldwide, the Octavia Hill Association of Philadelphia was founded in her memory to provide housing to low and middle income city residents.
Octavia Hill identified a housing need for key workers more than an century before it became a phrase so often used today.

Her influence was not just on the urban and social landscape, fighting to prevent urban sprawl and thus saving both Hampstead Heath and Parliament Hill Fields from development. This green space is always of great value to London residents rich or poor but even more so in the currant time of lock down. She is also credited with coining the term “green belt”, a term and idea used and appreciated by all of us.


Her most famous legacy is almost centrally the founding of the National Trust, saving important buildings for the nation. This however is only one part of her incredible achievements on the urban, suburban, rural and social landscape of the UK and beyond.

2 Bloomsbury Place-Gallowglass new central London hub

Just before Christmas 2020 Gallowglass Security took over the lease of 2 Bloomsbury Place from our long-term client, The Bedford Estate. The location has become a home to our key holding and response teams, providing respite for our foot patrol teams working through the coldest of winter nights and space for our growing enforcement department.

Although the building is brand new to us there have been many fascinating occupants since the first tenant Mary Frankland lived here from 1733 to 1735. At the time the area was known as “Passionate Bloomsbury” on account of the number of artists and writers who lived in the district. The name Bloomsbury is originally derived from Blemund’s Bury, a “bury” being the Saxon term for a manor house.

The house was occupied by from 1736 by lady Jane King before passing to James Booth who lived here for 42 years. Whilst his name is not a famous one his influence at the time was significant. He wrote the will of George the third, advised the Duke of Cumberland, brother of the king, that “in law no king of England has the power to bequeath personal property” after the king had torn up the will of his father George the second.

From 1772 Richard Heron took up occupation describing it “above middle size, well made and of good construction”. In 1776 he would become principal secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, where he was held in high esteem for his “integrity and devotion to duty”.

In 1786 a more recognisable name of Richard Ryder took up residence, a royal master carpenter who gave his name to Ryder Street in St James’s as he over saw its construction.

By 1841 the house was used by a charity called the Corporation of the Sons of Clergy which had been established in 1655 by royal charter during the reign of Charles the second. The charity gave pensions and donations to the widows of clergymen and provided education to their children.

This was not the last philanthropic organisation to be based at 2 Bloomsbury Place, in 1885 the Cholmondeley Charities took occupation. A wonderful anecdote from that time was the occasion Lord Cholmondeley was visited at 2 Bloomsbury Place by a famous confidence trickster called Horatio Bottomley. The fraudster made the mistake of pronouncing his lordships name phonetically, the butler advised the miscreant that “chumleigh” was the correct way to address Lord Cholmondeley. To which Bottomley retorted “I see, in that case perhaps you would tell his lordship that Mr Bummerley is here to see him”.

By 1920, 2 Bloomsbury Place became exclusively used for commercial activities, these have included a firm of watch importers, a lady named Millauro who specialised in the manufacture of glass eyes, and the press and public relations specialists, Richman and Associates. It is our turn to write a new footnote in this building’s wonderful history.

Gallowglass Security Partners LLP’s support for rough sleepers during the Covid 19 crisis

The unfolding Covid 19 crisis highlighted the perilous predicament facing rough sleepers from the heightened risk of Covid transmission. This being on account of a myriad of factors, notably; that many have chronic physical and mental health problems which are often heightened by substance misuse, the inability to self isolate, the absence of basic hygiene facilities, together with a peripatetic lifestyle.

We believe that the leadership of the Greater London Authority (GLA) deserve immense credit for being relentless in raising this issue in the public and political consciousness at a very early stage of the emerging pandemic. All this as well as maintaining it in the public profile, and providing the political impetus and means to ensure that relief was provided in the form of accommodating this highly vulnerable group at various London hotels.

The admirable and highly committed St Mungo’s charity, were commissioned to provide rough sleeping services at the hotels, and throughout the pandemic been at the vanguard in providing a variety of essential and invaluable outreach support to those being temporarily housed in hotels across the capitol.

We were invited by the GLA to provide security support at hotels under their responsibility, an invitation that we had no hesitation in accepting despite the challenges and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. Ultimately we reacted as we always do, with alacrity, and deployed carefully selected and well briefed teams of guards at various locations, with the tasks of ensuring the safety of the residents, outreach workers and hotel staff as well as enacting any and all special instructions received on site.

As the pandemic worsened, we were assigned to provide security regimes for more hotels under the aegis of the GLA; as well as expanding our involvement into the London Boroughs of Westminster, Havering, Waltham Forest and most recently, on behalf of the long standing and renowned homeless charity Crisis.

For Gallowglass this assignment represented a paradigm shift from the range of services we are accustomed to providing, not least because of the absence of any formal guidance on security provision at the front line amongst a demographic profile of persons at a high risk of Covid transmission.

Undaunted though, our guard force was carefully selected on the grounds of their skillset and aptitude for this work, and were comprehensively briefed and rapidly deployed. Despite national shortages of PPE at the time of initial deployment, we were able to procure it, and equip all guards with it. Simultaneously all sites were rigoursly and critically risk assessed so establish safe systems of work for them.

Drawing on advice and subsequent updates from bodies such as Public Health England and the NHS, our H&S Manager assimilated the scientific advice and then distilled and adapted it in the form of a series of highly unique security relevant training syllabus’s. These Covid specific training modules have been, and continue to be updated and delivered on site on a one to one basis in the form of toolbox training.

We believe that this highly considered approach has been instrumental in building awareness and understanding of the very specific challenges posed, and has  ultimately cultivated the necessary skill sets and understanding that has contributed to our guards excelling in such a unique environment.

As with all, it is our hope that oncoming vaccines mark the beginning of the end of this pandemic. Until vaccines are clearly entrenched throughout the population and their efficacy thereby established, rough sleepers will continue to require the support that local government provides along with dedicated and skilful charities. We remain on hand to assist whenever and wherever required, especially over the Christmas period.

Managing Partner Giles Turnbull says.

“This is and remains a remarkable project, and one that we regard ourselves as privileged to be involved in on account of its inestimable social value. It’s successful delivery is a result of a highly collegiate effort, where our staff have been encouraged to draw on their intelligence, accumulated knowledge and experience, and apply their initiative for the benefit and success of this project .

The final word must go to the guards on the ground who have shown great professionalism selflessness, determination and effectiveness in delivering our security services. There are many who have distinguished themselves and I thank them all. Particular commendations though must go to Adedotun Ajao, Mohammed Ismail, Grzegorz Grabowicki, Amir Khattab, Ashley Campbell and Yuri Asenov all of whom have been particularly outstanding.”

Security

Nick Kostov appointed partner as of 01 November 2020

We are extremely pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Nick Kostov as a Partner at Gallowglass, and to welcome him as our new Head of Operations. As with many at Gallowglass, Nicks journey towards Partnership has been a fascinating one. Nick graduated as a Primary School Teacher from Bulgaria’s Plovdiv University in Primary School Pedagogy and Foreign Languages, and is also fully licensed to teach at Primary level in England and Wales.

The early signs of his leadership ability, initiative and calmness under pressure were vividly illustrated when undertaking national service in the Bulgarian Air Force, when he single handedly played a critical role in averting an aeronautical disaster. A MIG 23, piloted by a senior Bulgarian General, was in distress and attempting to land at his base. Following a catastrophic failure of communications in air traffic control, he improvised and established alternative means of communications, and from there was able to guide the pilot down to a safe landing.

Since joining Gallowglass in 2008 his leadership ability, particularly in event security, was immediately apparent, and his rise through the security ranks was meteoric. He was the first, and to date, the only guard at Gallowglass ever to secure the accolade of primus inter pares. This qualifies him to undertake all security leadership roles regardless of size and complexity. In this capacity he has continually distinguished himself as an outstanding security team leader at high profile events in London, and at landmark event venues such as the Saatchi Gallery, Kew, the Roundhouse and the corporate and governmental orientated QEII Conference centre.

His leadership style is characterised by his natural authority, that is calm and unflustered and with no small measure of charisma as well. This has always engendered immediate confidence amongst event production professionals in both Nick and his team, and amongst the security team itself. Owing to Nick’s immense and steadfast contribution to Gallowglass’s growth in both a security leader and managerial capacity, he made an unanswerable case for elevation to Partnership, and one that is richly deserved. Away from work Nick delights in family life with his wife and young daughter. He is a connoisseur of Scotch Whiskey and a very keen student of the ferocious martial art, Krav Maga.

Giles Turnbull, the Managing Partner of Gallowglass Security Partners LLP, adds:

” I place a great premium on the timeless concept of leadership and of its value to our organisation, together with a desire to encourage and empower all our valued staff to perform to the absolute limits of their ability and beyond. With this in mind it always gives me immense satisfaction to observe members of our team exhibit these qualities and grasp the opportunities afforded to them to progress through our organisation.

Nick has shown tremendous leadership at all levels and has made an immense contribution to our progress as an organisation, and both I and my fellow Partners are delighted to welcome him to the Partnership. When I reflect on the composition of the Partners, I note that over half started their careers with us as security guards. This confirms that Gallowglass is a meritocracy, where hard work and ability will always secure its reward, and rightly so.”