Yesterday did not quite go as planned. I was getting ready to go to a meeting shortly before noon. Another peer left the office and, apparently without realising I was still working at my desk, locked the door behind her. Realising I was locked in, I went to unlock the door ready to go to my meeting. I put the key in the lock, turned it – and as I did so it broke and jammed in the lock. I was stuck in the office. There was no other means of exit.
I ‘phoned security, but because the key was stuck in the lock the security guard who came could not unlock the door from the other side. Engineers were summoned. When the engineers arrived, they encountered the same problems. I had visions of it being necessary to break down the door – a rather substantial one (see picture) – or cutting the lock out. I could see myself stuck for hours. I was asked if I could extract the key. Eventually, I managed to apply sufficient force to the head of the key to turn it and break the remaining links and extract what remained of it. The engineers then managed to force the lock and open the door. This was, to put it mildly, a relief. The engineer who did the principal work then took the lock out and dismantled it prior to replacing it. In the lock, he found not only the remains of my key but of other keys as well!
Almost forty years ago, when I was at Sheffield, I had a similar incident. The door to my office jammed. On that occasion, I was on the outside and not the inside: that was just as well, as my office was on the tenth floor and there was no other exit. It took until the next day to get the door opened. That memory did come back to me. However, on this occasion, it was all over within the hour.