As we mark the 10th anniversary of the London bombings on 7 July 2005, this is a brief post recalling what I was doing on that day.
In 2005, the Keele graduation ceremonies were in the week that began on Monday 4 July. The ceremony/ceremonies where my students were to graduate were held on Thursday 7 July. I remember being at a ceremony in the morning, and coming out to meet the new graduates probably around 11:00. It was only then, when I switched on my phone (which was off during the ceremony) that I heard about the bombings.
My wife, Angela, had taken an early coach from Hanley that morning with the aim of going to London to see a matinee of ‘Billy Elliot’. I was intending to travel to London later in the day, and we were going to stay over in London, so that I could get to the Royal Institution on Friday 8 July to give a seminar. However, her coach was late leaving Hanley, and as a result, it had not reached London when the bombings occurred. When the driver heard about what had happened, he turned the coach round and drove back, remarking that had he been on time, he might have been driving down one of the affected roads just when the bombs went off! So Angela got back late afternoon, thankfully safe. We cancelled the hotel and rebooked her show.
But I was not to be deterred from giving my seminar the next day. I took a train to London the next morning (the 0711 from Crewe, as trains from Stoke were reduced), and walked from Euston to Albemarle Street (many of the tube trains weren’t running). I remember that the seminar was quite well attended, but some people travelling from within London didn’t make it because local transport was affected. But I was not going to let a terrorist attack stop me from giving my seminar. The Jackson show had to go on!