Local Kings Cross memories from 7 July 2005

If local people would like to share their memories of the events ten years ago please do so in the comments below (or mail me and I’ll post them for you).  It seems to be popular online as an act of collective remembrance – see also the #walktogether on Twitter. Here’s mine:

Back in 2005 I was working in a government office near Victoria Station.  Like others we started to get reports of big unusual problems on the tube, then suggestions of a security incident, then vague, imprecise news of the terrible bombs.  The office we were in formed a bridge over the road where buses turn in the one way system.  Staff were very nervous and the decision was made to evacuate the building and send everyone home.  There hadn’t been time to get my bike when we baled out of the building so I started to walk.

I was living on Rufford Street at the top of Kings Cross and would walk quite often on a diagonal route via St James Park, Trafalgar Square, Russell Square, past the tube then up Judd Street to Kings Cross then up York Way.  It’s odd how trivial details stick with you against the terrible backdrop – I remember being in a woolen suit and heavy brogues making the walk on a hot day uncomfortable.  Just after leaving the office, the mobile network crashed under the load of people calling so I couldn’t ring my mum (who is the worrying type) I remember buying a phone card and using a public phone box – probably the last time I ever did so.  I was an early phone internet user and couldn’t check online either for my route.  Police I asked knew nothing.

At Montague Street, alongside the British Museum there was a road block at the junction with Russell Square.  Quite a few people were just standing there quiet and still, apparently stunned.  The square was clogged with emergency vehicles at its NE corner.  I knew I wouldn’t get past Russell Square tube (I had hoped to head up through SOAS) so went on a long diversion I think via Theobalds Road and Lambs Conduit Street and Grays Inn Road.  At Kings Cross there was a media pen being set up for the press near Incredible Edibles and huge numbers of emergency service vehicles.  The bus lane on the Cally was being used as a parking bay for ambulances.  I remember feeling very sad and useless and made my way home.


About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
This entry was posted in Kings Cross local history, Transport. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Local Kings Cross memories from 7 July 2005

  1. Baskers says:

    It’s a day that I don’t think any of us will ever forget. I blogged my thoughts about it here http://baskersworld.net/2015/07/07/10-years-on-remembering-the-7th-of-july/

  2. andyelvers says:

    A few days late, but here we go.

    At the time I was working out in Romford, so used to walk down to Kings Cross and get the Circle / Met / City line to Liverpool Street and then a mainline train. I was aiming for the 9:08 fast train from Liverpool Street, so my tube train pulled into Moorgate at 8:50. As we were in the platform all the lights and power suddenly went and the emergency lights came on a few seconds later. Then an announcement started – this is an emergency please leave the station immediately. Which we all did, without any fuss or panic. Like many others I knew that Moorgate and Liverpool St are quite close so started to walk down to the mainline station. As we entered and walked right across to the Anglia trains I noticed that the tube was shut at Liverpool St too. Weird I thought, but got on my train as usual and we pulled out at 9:08.

    As we pulled into Stratford a friend called me to see if I was OK as he had heard on Capital radio that there was an explosion at Liverpool St. But I’ve just been there, and apart from the tube being shut everything is fine. I told him about walking from Moorgate and we thought thats a bit odd but then left things. Around 15 minutes later I got to my office in Romford and asked reception to turn the TV over to BBC News which is when we started seeing the details of an apparent power surge.

    I went to my desk and started work, checking out the BBC News website every 15 minutes or so. Then I saw news of the bus at Tavistock Square and my first reaction was – but the 30 doesn’t go that route! As it became clear it was a terrorist attack and there were very many casualties it sent a shiver in me. I phoned my brother who we couldn’t get hold of on 9/11 (he worked in New York 50% of the time back then), and it did feel the same strange sense of panic. I rang my parents and told them I was OK.

    I essentially stopped working and just started watching BBC News constantly in my bosses office. I was one of the few staff who lived in Central London and they both my manager and HR started suggesting to me that I could go home at any point. So I rang my travel buddy Alison, who also worked in Romford and lived in London. We often got the same trains together.

    Around 2:30pm we decided to setoff and met up at Romford Station. There were no trains into Liverpool Street but we could make it to Ilford, so we took that train. At least there will be buses we thought. From there we got a 25 (a bendy bus at the time), which was empty except for the two of us and a few others trying to get home in London. As we saw other buses going the other way they were all packed. The driver announced that buses were not allowed to run in zone 1, so he had to drop us off at the Bow flyover so he could turn round. Out we got and we started to walk into London along the Mile End Road. It was a long walk, we met 100’s and 100’s of City workers walking out the other way, but we weren’t the only ones walking in.

    When we got near Whitechapel Hospital I realised we needed to start heading North, so we walked up towards Bethnal Green and suddenly we saw a Bus. We ran for it and got on a bus going to Shoreditch only. By now our feet hurt so we gladly had a rest. At Shoreditch we walked up the High Street and by now the buses were just starting to run again. At this point I parted company with Alison, who carried on North, and I took a 55. I got off at the junction with Grays Inn Road and walked up to Kings Cross.

    It was strange, as you got closer it got more deserted and desolate. Finally there were Police cordons and I realised I was not going to make it up to Balfe Street across Kings Cross Bridge. So I turned right and headed east and up across Pentonville Road and around to the Cally were I could get access to Wharfedale road. At this point there was a cordon at the top of Balfe street too, but when I explained I lived here, I was allowed to home as long as I stayed indoors. So I did. By now it was around 5:30pm, I’d been travelling for 3 hours or so.

    A few hours later and the cordon across the top of Balfe St was gone and I went out to walk around. Essentially the bottom of the Cally Road was filled with outside broadcast trucks for all sorts of TV stations. No traffic was moving, the streets were empty, which made it eerie. It kind of reminded me of the end of The War of The Worlds when the Journalist makes it back into London and walks along the Euston Road.

    Over the next few days we got used to the message board and the flower garden (which I really liked). It soon became apparent that 2 colleagues had been involved at Edgware Road (both thankfully uninjured), but I’m lucky that’s the nearest it affected me personally. It still sends odd shivers when I get on a Piccadilly line train going South. I’m always thankful when we make it through to Russell Square.

  3. Lorraine says:

    I was in Frankfurt, eating a curry for brunch and on my way to a samba festival in Coburg, when I saw footage on the German TV of King’s Cross. “That’s odd”, I thought – “that’s where I live… why would it be on TV in Germany?”. I’d caught an overnight coach, so was a little disorientated, and the TV was all in German of course so I couldn’t make out what was going on. The footage got more and more worrying, ambulances, cordons, and then the blown up bus of course. I tried asking the people who ran the cafe, but German was not their first language and nor was English, so translating was difficult, and it was only when the Met’s press conference came on that I found out what was happening. I have to admit my first reaction was that this was a false flag operation; it seemed too convenient for the government at a time of oil wars with little public support, and indeed oppressive legislation eroding civil liberties was brought through in the aftermath. I felt lucky that I wasn’t in London when it happened, as I both lived and worked in King’s Cross at that time. I was glad too that my family would know I was away. I rang them the first chance I got anyway. It was quite surreal coming back a few days later, having been miles away during something so big that had affected so many of my friends, colleagues and neighbours.

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