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Remembering the Docklands Bomb

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George Legg, Lucy Harrison (Editor)

King's Authors

Impacts

  • Not A Split Second: Remembering the Docklands Bomb

    Impact: Cultural Impacts, Health Impacts, Political Impacts, Societal Impacts

Abstract

What are the unwritten memories of an explosion loaded with political significance?
On 9 February 1996 the IRA detonated a 3,000 pound bomb in London’s Docklands, causing £150 million worth of damage, 40 injuries and 2 fatalities. The explosion marked the end of a seventeen month ceasefire, forcing the British government to re-table talks for peace in Northern Ireland. In the mainstream media this event has been read as the IRA successfully ‘bombing its way to the conference table’.

But the bomb had other, often forgotten, consequences. The explosion not only altered London’s built environment, it also transformed human relationships with the city. The bomb revealed weaknesses in the capital’s security apparatuses, prompting a renewed approach to surveillance in the city. Alongside this, London’s Irish communities were placed under the strain of suspicion against the otherwise optimistic backdrop of the peace process. Victims of the attack, meanwhile, continue to fight for compensation and recognition of the damage caused to their families and their everyday lives.

This publication was a collaboration between Lecturer in Liberal Arts and London, Dr. George Legg, and Lucy Harrison, an artist based in London whose work looks at sites and communities in the midst of change.

Together George and Lucy interviewed local residents and members of the Docklands Victims Association about the bombing and its unfolding legacy. Their approach was to experiment in bringing together academic and artistic research methods in response to the unwritten memories and official narratives of this explosion.

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