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1996: Your memories of the Docklands bomb
On 9 February 1996, a lorry parked near South Quay station exploded, devastating a large area of London's Docklands.

The IRA admitted to planting the bomb which broke the Republican group's 17-month ceasfire.

Two people were killed, many more injured and millions of pounds of damage was caused.

Your accounts

I was working for a civil engineering company based in Southwark in 1996.

On the night of the Docklands bomb I had worked late and was just walking across Southwark Bridge to go to Cannon Street Station when the bomb went off.

My initial reaction was that it was an enormous crack of thunder but then I knew it wasn't - it was an explosion I had heard, and somehow knew instinctively that it was a bomb.

I carried on walking and went home on the underground.

Everywhere seemed strangely quiet and it was only when I arrived home that I learned what had happened.
Valerie Bowker, UK

I was 17 and in a busy bar in Cookstown having a few drinks with friends before heading into the night club when a newsflash hushed the crowd.

We all listened in silence as the news reader delivered the story that had crushed our hopes of peace.

I stood at the bar with what must have been a look of horror on my face as the barmaid just said "I know".

Our hopes for peace were so strong, and to have them dashed in a few seconds seemed utterly cruel
Barbara, Northern Ireland
We finished our drinks and went home. As soon as I was alone with my then boyfriend (now husband) I allowed myself to cry. Our hopes for peace were so strong, and to have them dashed in a few seconds seemed utterly cruel.

Patrick Kielty had a live talk show in Northern Ireland at the time, full of biting political satire against all the politicians and extremist groups in Northern Ireland.

His show was on at 10.30pm and the bomb had gone off around 7.00pm - he stood on the stage with his script in a raised hand and said: "This was the script before 7.00 this evening". He threw it away and with empty hands said: "This is the script after 7.00 this evening."

It was the best show he had ever done - scant consolation for the families of those who lost their lives.
Barbara, Northern Ireland

I remember this clearly because I went to my place of work - at that time I was running a fledgling internet operation for one Richard Desmond at the infamous Northern and Shell Tower a single stop down the DLR from South Quay - unnaturally early that day.

Rather than take the DLR, I chose to drive from my home in North Kensington, which was also very unusual, and parked, for reasons of convenience, at South Quay. From there I walked down the Millwall Dock to Pepper Bridge and so to the Desmond base at 4 Selsdon Way.

This is all very clear in my mind because my wife was at that time five days overdue with our second child and seemeed likely to go into labour at any moment. Indeed, she called me at about 1.30pm to tell me it was happening, at which point I fled the (traditionally unlucky) Isle of Dogs and made for home at top speed.

Six hours later, as the news broke, I was bombarded by a flurry of anxious calls from friends who knew where I worked. It later transpired that my car had been parked directly over the spot where the bomb was planted...

The intial labour call from my wife turned out to be a false alarm; and the child, our excellent second son Louis, was born, at his own pace, two days later at St. Mary's hospital in Paddington, in the middle of a dramatic thunderstorm.
Dom Collier, UK

I live in Poplar but went to school on the Island.

I was 14 years old at the time, and had tickets to go watch the London Leopards play a basketball match at london arena after they were given away for free at school but ended up at my friends house instead.

At about 6:30 I made my way home to get my homework done.

My journey (as usual from my friend's) began from Mudchute Park DLR station on a Stratford- bound train. I get off at All Saints. I put the key in the front door and within minutes of taking off my coat there was a huge bang and the windows in my house facing Canary Wharf were pushed open by the blast.

I knew then that I had been really lucky along with several of my friends watching the basketball - including my now-fiance!

I had gone through South Quay just five minutes earlier. The week that followed saw police visits to my school, giving instructions as to emergency procedure, and a feeling of mistrust for the area itself.

Now the area has been re-built, but the building that was taken out by the bomb on the extreme left (I think it was the original Barclays building) is still in a ruin, with scaffolding holding it up, and the floors exposed as there are no exterior walls on it.
Layla, UK

My fiance and I were supposed to meet her cousin in Greenwich at 7pm. As we lived in Poplar, we would use the Docklands Light Railway to get to Island Gardens and walk under the tunnel. However, we fell asleep!

We were woken by an almighty bang, the windows of my bedroom seemed to bow under the pressure and we threw ourselves off the bed (which was under the window).

I looked out of my window towards Canary Wharf to see a huge pall of smoke
Paul Bargery
There was an uncanny silence before what seemed like thousands of sirens went off as the emergency services went in. I looked out of my window towards Canary Wharf to see a huge pall of smoke. One of the most frightening times!
Paul Bargery

I was living in Belvedere (Kent) at the time and I had just got in from work when I felt a strange rumbling and a low faint sound.

My two cats stopped what they were doing and the glasses in my cabinet shook. I switched on the TV and saw the newsflash about the bomb. I was amazed that I felt it from there.
Ross Cotton

My fifth-floor office overlooked where the truck carrying the bomb was parked. That week I had been working late every night preparing for the move of our Belgian office to Docklands, but on 10 February I left earlier as my tasks had been completed.

The first I knew of the bomb was when a computer operator telephoned me to ask if it was worth going in to work that night!

The security guard sitting at his desk in the glass atrium lobby dropped his glasses while cleaning them. The bomb exploded as he bent down to retrieve them but he was shielded by the desk.

Tons of shattered glass fell down and as he straightened up he was knee-deep in glass but scratch-free!
Keith Ward

I was at home at the time the bomb went off, but many of my friends were working at Canary Wharf and I had been working there earlier myself.

The news made me jump to the phone to all staff at the banks, who told of a large shock wave which moved the glass of the windows and made some objects in the offices move.

Fortunately none of the people I knew were hurt.
Kevin Turner

I knew something big had happened
Tony White
At the time I lived in north London. I was planning on going out that night to spend the evening with friends, and I was in my bedroom at my parents' house just about to get changed.

As I was standing in the middle of the room I heard a sound I will never forget: a long "whump" - it was one of those reverberating bass noises that you can hear no matter what's going on around you... you feel it inside.

I knew something big had happened, and I just turned on my TV and waited... It didn't take long for my suspicions to be proved correct.
Tony White

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Damaged buildings in London's Docklands (PA)
Millions of pounds of damage was caused


Damage caused by the Docklands bomb
It was estimated the bomb contained half a tonne of explosive
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