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1974: Bomb blast at the Tower of London

VIDEO : Emergency service attend blast scene

An explosion in the Tower of London has left one person dead and 41 injured.

A bomb ripped through the Mortar Room in the White Tower at 1430 BST.

The small basement exhibition room was packed with tourists from the UK and abroad who took the force of the blast.

Many people suffered badly damaged and lost limbs and severe facial injuries.

At least two of the victims were children and are being treated in St Bartholomew's Hospital.

Scotland Yard Bomb Squad Chief Robert Huntley said: "It was an indiscriminate attack designed to create as much trouble and injury as possible."


"It was an indiscriminate attack"

Bomb Squad Chief Robert Huntley

"It is the sort of target the IRA would pick," he continued, although the incident happened without the coded warning typical of the organisation.

Constable of the Tower Major General WDM Raeburn has revealed that he received a message last Sunday that "the Tower is going up".

But a thorough search found nothing at the time and Master of Armouries Richard Dufty claims that this afternoon's bomb would have been noticed by his staff if it had been there for any length of time.

All that remains of the device is an electro-magnetic timer, found near the cannon where detectives think the bomb was left.

Police are checking camera films used by visitors for any further clues.

They are particularly interested in the pictures of photo-journalist Jean Halgen who thinks she may have a shot of a man she saw running away from the scene aged 30-33 of medium height with brown hair and wearing a brown jacket.

The dead woman has been named as Dorothy Household, 47, a librarian in Lewisham who was visiting with a friend and two children.

This is the second bomb in London today. At 0430 BST there was an explosion at government buildings in Balham, South London.

Nobody was injured in this morning's blast but there was substantial damage to surrounding buildings.

In context
Altogether eight children were injured in the attack.

Donations poured in to help the victims overcome their horrific injuries.

The Tower re-opened two days later, but the White Tower remained closed for further investigations.

Dozens of people handed over their films for examination.

Detectives interviewed thousands of people in the UK and Ireland and made enquiries in Europe and the US.

No culprit was found and no organisation claimed responsibility, although the IRA was widely suspected.

The jury at the inquest into the death of Miss Household returned a verdict of murder by person or persons unknown at the end of September.


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