The Morning After: One Londoner’s Journey To Work

M@
By M@ Last edited 151 months ago
The Morning After: One Londoner’s Journey To Work

I left my house in West Hampstead a little before 9 O’clock. The southbound Jubilee Line was running a full and efficient service. It was much quieter than usual, I'd guess about a quarter normal capacity. IPODs were all left at home, and few people were reading. Unclaimed copies of Metro lay discarded about the carriage. Vigilance was the watchword.

I got off at Baker Street with a view to walking the couple of miles to Holborn, so I could see for myself how London was coping 24 hours on. In part, I think I also wanted to get back to street level.

Walking past Madame Tussauds, it was reassuring to see the usual queue of tourists, only slightly truncated. Otherwise, this end of Euston Road was oddly quiet. Several buses went by, sparsely occupied. A couple of motorcyclists took advantage of the empty roads to burn some rubber. Roadside police cars let them go by unchecked; they had bigger things to deal with.

Walking past all the shiny glass buildings on Euston Road, everyone’s pace seemed to quicken. Not a good spot to linger. I popped into Euston Station. The Tube had been sealed off due to an earlier security alert, but the concourse for overground trains was extremely busy. All trains seemed to be running as normal and, apart from a few extra police officers, the scene could have been anytime. Leaving the area, I passed the Euston Fire Station. All the shutters were open and the engines sat ready for a call. Firemen in full gear were chatting over coffee on the tarmac. They had plenty to talk about.

Along the gradual descent to King’s Cross, the number of people swelled. Commuters, tourists, TV crews, ambulance chasers. This station was, if anything, more busy than usual. That nasty bit of ground right outside the station, usually filled with beggars and troublemakers, was this morning packed with outside broadcast units. Round the back streets, the world’s media had set up stall. The area was awash with boom mikes and satellite dishes. I took one of these streets, heading South towards Russell Square.

The roadblocks started at Tavistock Place and I couldn’t get anywhere near the site of the bus explosion. A pavement café was open on the edge of the cordon, and a couple of suits were breakfasting as though the scene behind them was totally normal. A few photographers were capturing the scene, as though to illustrate how the British stiff upper lip will continue to sip tea under any circumstance. All the time, distant sirens that would normally be blocked out of cognizance made heads turn and ears prick up.

As I approached Great Ormond Street, I saw what I thought was an ITN news crew. I wandered over in the hope of getting a word with them. They turned out to be an Italian TV company with a similar logo to ITN. They filmed me answering a few questions about my reactions and observations. In return I asked them what impression they were gauging from talking to people. 'Shocked' had been the unanimous response.

I got into my office around 10. Only a few other people were in, as the site was officially closed for business. We exchanged stories and chatted away for quite a while. Everyone from the company had been safely accounted for, though one person had had a lucky escape from the train at Aldgate.

So, now I’m ready to settle back down to work again as this great city begins its return to something like normality. As I write these words, an inch above my monitor yet half a mile away, I can see the Union flag fluttering at what appears to be three-quarters-mast on the Senate House. Its defiant elevation above mid-mast stands as a reflection in microcosm of London’s resilience.

Last Updated 08 July 2005

Ayesha

Central London has an eerie edge to it. On the one hand things appear quite normal, despite the lack of the commuter crowds and general hustle and bustle, it kind of seems okay. Until you see a missing person poster, Russell Sq cordoned off and armed police walking the streets. I can't imagine what it was like yesterday, but today is just so surreal.

krissa

Good luck to all Londonists in the coming days and weeks. Us Gothamists are all thinking of you.

Wandique Silva

To my beloved Londoners:

The London that we all love will go on forever.
God bless you all !

My best wishes from Brazil,

Wandique

LISA

We across the pond are praying for you all and for the lost may GOD comfort you in this time of heartache, and remember we care. From the USA

Iulius Camillus

So the four suspects in the London bombings were...ahem..."British citizens". Well whoopie! Their "home town" of Leeds, has a population of 715,000, 15 percent of which are Moslem and the four "British citizens" were part of that community. Obviously, the priviledge of being granted British citizenship did nothing to make them "British". And why should anyone be surprised by that? If I enter a mule in the races at Ascott, should I be surprised if the mule refuses to leave the starting gate? Although the London bombings are a tragedy and an outrage, unfortunately, they are a symptom of something far more tragic and outrageous and that is the selling out of Europe over the past thirty-five years by politicians across the entire, mainstream, political spectrum. First Spain, then Britain and now Denmark and Italy---all with burgeoning, Moslem populations, are on the hit list. When the bombs go off in Copenhagen and Rome, I hope the Dutch and Italian people understand the real tragedy and direct their outrage accordingly. Check out the latest news regarding...ahem...a "Dutch citizen".
http://www.iht.com/articles/20...

Alade Onabolu

May The Souls Of The Departed Rest In Peace. Amen