Wednesday, 21 July 2010

21/7/05: Attack on Shepherd's Bush

"you'd better get off here", "get off now", "Ladies and Gents there seems to be some kind of security alert please get off this bus now" were the three announcements I remember on the 207 bus. We had pulled up just before the H&C tube next to the police station. We all knew what he was talking about and what the dozens of police frantically throwing up cordons and pushing people back up Uxbridge Road had to mean after the events of July 7th. You could smell the fear.

But not panic, if anything a morbid curiosity. I crossed through Shepherds Bush Market onto Goldhawk Road where, just a block away from where it was all happening there was no sense of what was happening so close by. Not even the helicopters overhead seemed to bother people. But then I got onto the Green. the "just one more" cafe had a big screen reporting a bomb attack at Oval. What did that have to do with what was happening here?

Noise. Police cars swerving around people at high speed driving across the Green itself to get to the tube station. More cordons. Journalists on mopeds screching to a halt and being ushered through the lines only to be stopped at the next one a few metres from the rest of us. More helicopters. More police. In short, paralysis.

Then the thirst for knowledge. What had happened? A long walk, my trip to the gym having been abandoned, back up Uxbridge Road. Stallholders from the market quietly, and with no panic, packing up their stalls and helping usher people away. Shop holders closing early and also joining in, asking how they could help. A community coming together.

Police all the way up the road and a constant symphony of sirens that lasted for hours. Uxbridge Road closed for traffic further up so the only cars were police. It began to resemble a route from Carnival. Except the mood was anything but.

Got home. 24/7 news coverage delivering very little actual news. And then the wait. This was the day, five years ago today, terrorism came to Shepherd's Bush.

1 comment:

  1. I remember it well. Evacuated from the Tube, no mobile communications so could not find out if my wife was OK, then suddenly a call - "Would you be interested in upgrading to a new mobile phone?"