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1971: Bomb explodes in Post Office tower

VIDEO : Earlier searches failed to find the explosives

A bomb has exploded in the Post Office tower causing extensive damage but no injuries.

The blast occurred at 0430GMT on the 33rd floor of the tower and shortly after police received a call from a man claiming that the "Kilburn Battalion" of the IRA was behind the attack.

A senior detective said: "The incident has all the hallmarks of the IRA. The explosives experts feel this was a professional job."

Security at all public buildings is now being stepped up as police fear the start of a wave of terror attacks.

It is believed the bomb, which blew out foot-thick walls, was planted in a toilet on the lowest of the public viewing galleries.

A warning was given and the building thoroughly checked but nothing was found.

General manager of the tower restaurant Guido Edwards said: "We have had about 100 hoax calls in the last five years.

"We inspected the cloakrooms and nooks and crannies and believed the restaurant was safe."


"We have had about 100 hoax calls in the last five years"

Guido Edwards, Tower restaurant

Police are now trying to ascertain how the bomb was planted. A search was carried out in the area where the bomb was left after the last of the public visitors had gone.

It is thought that a diner in the restaurant building may have gained access to an internal staircase leading to the other floors.

Buildings and cars up to 400 yards away were damaged in the blast and some local residents reported being shaken from their beds.

Work has begun to clear away the debris but is likely to take days due to the unsteady nature of the area.

However, there is no danger of the tower collapsing as the main support comes from an internal central structure.

In Context
Shortly after the blast the tower and the restaurant were closed to the public.

Renamed in the 1980s, the British Telecom Communication Tower was the first purpose-built tower to transmit high frequency radio waves.

It was designed to allow for the rapid expansion of telephone communications and to overcome the difficulty of laying cables in London.

The restaurant closed for good in 1980 when the owner's lease expired.

It has subsequently been refurbished and is now used for corporate entertainment.

In 2003 it was given a Grade II listed status.


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