The city of London is one that is full of life and action. However, that action doesn’t come to a complete stand-still at night-time. There are many people in London who work throughout the night, helping to keep the city safe and preparing for the frantic rush of the following day. If it wasn’t for them, the London of regular waking hours would not run nearly as smoothly as it does.
Here I’ll go over just some of the wide variety of night jobs that happen in and around the capital on a daily basis.
Getting From A to B Throughout the Night
With five major airports in London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and City) there is much action throughout the night. Not only is it necessary for those from the airline companies to be working, but most of the cleaning is done at night-time since there are fewer people travelling at that time.
Although some of the airport shops and restaurants close, others remain open throughout the darkness. Security officers work shifts, and those who do the night shift perform an equally important role as those in the day. Since some people choose to sleep at airports rather than book into a hotel for an early morning flight, it is essential that such security is available.
The tube network remains open until about 1am and is then up and running again by about 6am (it varies on the different lines). However, even during the night-time hours when it is closed, all is not silent deep down underground. Throughout the night, the tracks and the tube stations are cleaned and much of the necessary maintenance is carried out.
Although they’re not all that frequent, there are night buses available in London and these obviously require drivers. Taxis are obviously far more frequent, with the famous London black cabs also available for those who need to travel at that time.
Crime Doesn’t Sleep
The emergency services work 24/7 throughout the capital. Paramedics and the Fire Services are available and ready to respond to emergency calls. The Metropolitan Police are both on call in case of emergencies and are also touring the capital and surrounding areas to keep them safe even when some people have had a bit too much merriment in the bars, pubs and clubs.
More than 100 hospitals are listed in the London area. In each of these hospitals doctors and nurses are on hand throughout the night, both in the casualty departments and on the wards. However, there is also a need for security personnel at that time and for receptionists. The casualty departments can often be extremely busy at this time, particularly on the weekends when alcohol gets the better of people.
Food, Booze and Hotel Moves
Much of the packaged food that will be consumed in London the following day needs to prepared at night. Hence, many people will work from dusk til dawn preparing the sandwiches and ready made pasta pots that we all love for our lunches.
Bars and nightclubs are also kept busy with many remaining open into the small hours of the morning. Some fast food outlets also remain open throughout the night providing sustenance to those that are working, travelling or who just have the munchies.
Receptionists are also needed to work the night shift in many London hotels. With so many guests choosing to arrive and leave at different times, it’s sure to be a busy shift.
Shop Until You Drop
An increasing number of supermarkets in the London area remain open throughout the night meaning cashiers are needed even at that time. Even those supermarkets that are closed to the public will often have people busy at work, sorting through the stock and stacking the shelves ready for the next day.
Many clothes shops and department stores also employ people to work through the night, especially on those days when new stock will be arriving. Setting up a high quality retail display takes planning and military-like execution if it is to be ready for customers the following day.
This is just a taste of the wonderful world of night-time work in London. Tens of thousands of people miss out on the rays of the daylight sun so that the city can run like clockwork no matter where the hour hand lies
Pat Flannagan says
How about the all night radio people? They’re toiling away at Bush House at the BBC broadcasting to all parts of the world where the time of day is completely different. And what about the commercial radio stations where the night disc jockeys who haven’t been replaced by automation are checking their logs and loading up their spots? And what about over at Resonance 104 FM where anyone from anywhere could be playing anything. Because in the city of London somewhere working at something else, someone is listening to the radio all night long.