The Tower in brochure (l) and in misty weather
The Tower in brochure (l) and in misty weather

The towering block of glass central to today's helicopter disaster contains a luxury penthouse priced at £50m.

St George Wharf Tower, in Vauxhall, soars into the sky next to the river Thames. It is a glittering glass construction designed for the discerning millionaires who fuel London's continuing property boom and want a trophy home.

Within the walls of the Tower is the latest in modern interior design. Its luxury flats and penthouses are the priciest slabs of real estate anywhere in south London. Occupants buy into a towering beacon of expensive taste, dubbed the "Knightsbridge of the South".

There are 223 flats arrayed across 52 floors, many with scenic views of the river. The £50m penthouse is located at the very summit of The Tower. 

It stands 180 metres above ground level and comes with its own 360 degree walkway, providing a panoramic view of London not even matched by the shorter London Eye. The location of The Tower, on a bend in the River Thames, provides a bird's eye view, unsurpassed anywhere else.  

The image below of the penthouse interior captures a space with a spiral staircase arching elegantly upwards, with mirrored walls bouncing light in all directions. At the rear can be seen the balcony behind glass, with a handrail.

PIC: St George's
PIC: St George's

Today's air disaster, in which a helicopter crashed into a crane attached to The Tower in low visibility, killing two, risks removing some of the sheen from The Tower's elegant surfaces and glossy promotional material.

PIC: St George's
PIC: St George's

Elsewhere in the skyscaper elegant, muted colour schemes dominate the expensive spaces fitted out with wood and steel, which ooze high taste and big budgets. High windows bring light flooding into rooms, from which the occupant can look out and see the capital city at their feet.

St George's developer, a subsidiary of Barclay's, is effusive when describing what buyers get for parting with, on average, £2.5m for their own small piece of The Tower.

"A man can talk of prestige but there can be no more prestigious place to live than above all others, looking down on the world's greatest metropolis," the firm claims grandly.

PIC: St George's
PIC: St George's

"Overlooking the river homes and the historic houses of parliament, The Tower in St George Wharf will be one of Europe's tallest residential towers.

"Exceptional interior design elegant exteriors and breath-taking views," are promised, as well as a concierge service "provided by internationally renowned Harrods estates asset management."

Even renting a flat in the complex at the foot of The Tower is beyond the range of the average worker. A one-bed property costs around £400 a week, and two-beds are in excess of £500. Renting a three bed property costs around £660.

PIC: St George's
PIC: St George's

Construction by Brookfield Multiplex Construction Europe was nearing completion, after seven years, when disaster struck during low visibility in the morning rush-hour. Getting The Tower off the ground was a tortuous process, beset by planning wrangles and worries over the size and how it will impact the environment.

Property Developer Barclay group had to sweat on getting permission to build the huge tower. Planning permission for designs by architect Broadway Malyan was twice refused, partly due to worries over its close proximity to the Houses of Parliament. The project was eventually saved by Labour politician John Prescott, who ignored Civil Service avdice by stepping in and approving construction in 2005.