One Year On

By Londonist Last edited 151 months ago
One Year On

As memorial events continue across London this morning and ahead of the silence at noon we've taken a break from the regular posting to reflect on what happened on July 7 and to remember in our own way those who were killed or injured a year ago today.

Our rolling coverage of the day makes for sombre reading, but continuing down to re read the comments that streamed in it's hard not to be moved.

One thing that strikes us is the misinformation and rumours that prevailed for a while. First there was the report of power surges on the tube which lead to the usual moans and groans here about getting to and from work - in fact the URL of the post reveals that it started off as nothing more than a simple 'tube network down again' story. Many Londonist writers were due to traqvel out of London that day (one due to catch a train at Kings' Cross, another on his way out fo the door to Heathrow) when the first unconfirmed reports of an actual explosion came in and everyone's day changed in that instant.

A simple question went up on our contributors' forum - 'Was there an explosion on the tube?' And that became our behind the scenes hub to collect and share the news as it came in. Despite reports of someone being 'blown out' of a tube train door no one was thinking that this was an attack. Just after 10.15 we had our first confirmed news about what had happened at Tavistock Square:

An explosion has "ripped a bus apart" just minutes after a number of blasts on London's Underground. Witness Belinda Seabrook said she saw an explosion rip though a bus as it approached Russell Square. "I was on the bus in front and heard an incredible bang. I turned round and half the double decker bus was in the air," she said. Scotland Yard could not confirm reports of an explosion on a bus in Russell Square. A spokeswoman said police were at the scene and attempting to determine what had happened.

Like the rest of London we immediately began contacting everyone we knew - as well as family the whole Londonist team was scattered across the city, but maybe an hour later we knew that everyone was ok. Then we could concentrate on what was happening.

11:15 - Suspect package found at Stockwell. Reports of an explosion at Hounsditch near Liverpool St. Police are counting six 'events' (explosions).

We kept the site updated as best we could, taking it in turns to filter the information we had coming in over the phone and email. As well as all the suspect devices at one point we had reports of multiple bus explosions which later thankfully proved false, but speculation continued about just how many dead and injured there were.

As the day went on we found that our coverage had become more important than a simple record of the days events as people who couldn't connect to the overburdened BBC and Guardian websites came instead to us - once America was awake our own servers took a battering as the Gothamist network sent extra traffic our way. With it came messages of support and thanks, although it wasn't until much later that evening that we had a chance to digest much of it.

I am watching with horror from Singapore, recognizing the tube stations and streets I walked on a daily basis during my studies at UCL as direct targets of these attacks. I returned to Singapore 2 years ago but my heart never left London. It is there with all of you now.

Over the next few days we went back to doing what we do right along with the rest of the city. Sadly it was only two weeks later we had the second attempt.

Despite the occasional troll, a smattering of racist crap and the usual pokerbot spam what came through loud and clear is that we have the best readers - the reason we write the nonsense we do everyday is because there are people out there reading it. Idiots with bombs will come and go but London is made up of it's people and as long as even one of us still has the breath left to stand up, speak out and continue doing what we do with no regard for those who try to stop us then London is indestructible.

Image taken from mlazopoulou's flickr stream.

Last Updated 07 July 2006