Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Harrods was bombed when in 1983 the IRA planted explosives in a car outside. The blast blew heavy parts up onto the roof of the building opposite... and it abruptly ended several unsuspecting lives.
Having spent an uncomfortable couple of days re-living my past, I thought I would share this with you - and I promise, I won't delete it!
I worked in Harrods myself for five years, doing all sorts of things - which I will tell you if you want - I was there from 1980. But then,.....on that particular day, I had taken time off, because my husband (yep!) had taken it into his head to have a concert at our home, starring all his piano pupils. My job he declared, was to feed them....In all we expected about 28 people to turn up and participate in the 'grand' production. The studio had been re-organised - chairs set up in the (thankfully) long room - a piano at each end and...(I have to say, this was not an unusual happening at the time; however, - I wonder if wife 2 has to do such impromptu event catering? I doubt it, I've tasted her cooking!!!!! (honest, it's truly awful).
when the bomb went off at work, I was in the kitchen, making soup for the masses...in Brentford - thankfully not in Knightsbridge.
Had I been at work, I might very well have been one of the unfortunate people, leaving or entering the staff entrance - and ka-boom, you wouldn't be reading this blog now.
However, I was at work when the IRA bombed Hyde-Park-Corner.
This was the lead up.....
I was standing by a big trestle table in the toy department idly chatting - it was covered in sheets of brown wrapping paper as we were using it as a temporary 'packing' area for parceling up anything that the customers cared to buy.....
Yep, you can ask me to wrap anything from a model car to a rocking horse in corrugated cardboard and brown paper and then to tie string round it....i'm your girl for the job.
I worked in the packing section of the toy department at the big store for years.....I am an expert - but just brown paper and string - parcel stuff, not that 'girly-gift-wrap' crap with tight corners and ribbons!
I had my back to the windows at the rear of the store. The picture here is of the front, on Old Brompton Road. We were on the 4th floor...(the department moved from the 3rd to the 4th floor around that time). Prior to that, the toy department packing room was on the front of the building I think the 4th window along from the curved corner - the row above the 'Harrods' Sign...which in those days had 3 Royal 'By Appointment' crests above it!!!!!!!!!!
There was a loud low, rumbling boom and we all stood still, mid sentence, looking at each other. I said "...that sounded like a bomb..." A couple of moments later,I couldn't tell you how long, we smelled it - acrid, smokey and a bit like bonfire night gone wrong.
That was quite a time for everyone and one of the very many memories I have of the great red palace. The tales I could tell you! Thankfully not all so devastating.