Moira Cameron is a trailblazer, the first woman to hold the position of Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London. With a return to the Yeoman’s roles as Guardians of the Tower – with ultra clean keys! - what does working from home mean for a Beefeater at one of our most iconic landmarks?
Living and working at the Tower of London in essence means I already WFH. In recent times the difference is there are less of us on duty and we don’t have any visitors, and it is strange observing social distancing with the families in the Tower and my colleagues whilst on duty. We are continuously washing our hands when handing over keys or using hand sanitiser to clean those keys if you can’t get to soap and water; I don’t think they have ever been so clean!
Our office has someone in it 24/7 and is constantly being swabbed down. We have the foam soap which gets plastered over everything while we sing Happy Birthday twice and then back to the start to wipe it all off. What are kids going to associate with singing that song in the future? I know I will be thinking of hands so dry that the print recognition doesn’t work on my phone.
Enjoying an empty Tower
Christmas Day is normally the only day of the year where we close completely and, I won’t lie, it is lovely to have the Tower just to ourselves. The first week of lockdown felt a bit like that without the turkey. Easter weekend, which is one of our busiest and easily sees 14-16K people in each day, has been a stark reminder of the economic impact we as a business will face. In the meantime we just keep calm and carry on.
Getting shopping has not been too much of a problem as long as you are not too fussed what you eat. Army rations prepare you well for this! If I see a queue I go elsewhere as I am not taking the risk. I normally take my bike and use that time for exercise; with the streets being so quiet it’s a joy to cycle in the City. What is not so joyful is trying to gulp in air through a mask as it’s sucked onto your face. Must get fitter. We have the moat and the wharf to exercise in too so in that respect we are very lucky.
I miss them though, the visitors that is, the chats, the banter, laughing with them and sharing the Tower and its history.
Our ceremonies continue
We have once again become Guardians of the Tower and at the main gate we chat with people passing by. Believe it or not we are still being asked for pictures. I think the sight of a Beefeater in uniform at the Tower gates makes people feel normal, even if just for a moment. Like everyone else maintaining important routines, the Ceremony of the Keys still takes place each night. Six of us march in a smart and soldier like fashion, bearing in mind the two metre social distancing. The clock strikes 10pm, the Last Post sounds and once again HM Tower of London has been locked and secured for the night.
Yeoman Warder Moira Cameron has been at the Tower of London since 2007, following a 22-year career in the British Army. The role of Yeoman includes looking after public visitors to the Tower and the resident ravens, as well as carrying out ceremonial duties including the Ceremony of the Keys, guarding the Crown Jewels and attending ceremonies of state.
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