10 years ago today, on Thursday 7th July 2005, I commuted to work like usual, the 8.12am train from Hayes & Harlington to Paddington, where I’d get the Hammersmith and City line to Edgware Road . I got off at Paddington and walked up the stairs towards platform 15, looking back at the platform and thinking there was so much joy in the air. London had just won the 2012 Olympics bids and the news was splashed on the fronts of all the Metro newspapers, Everyone seemed happier than usual. I got on the Hammersmith and City line tube and got off at Edgware Road (Marylebone Road exit) at about 8.40am and then walked up Marylebone Road to the Woolworths office.
8.50am was when the bomb went off at Edgware Road. 10 minutes earlier I was at that station. The thought of that haunts me to this day. We didn’t realise what was happening at first when I arrived at the office, it was just a normal day. I can’t quite remember who said what, but there was rumours of some sort of power surge on the tube. My now-husband worked on the 5th floor but that day he was out of the office at the Christmas Toy Press Show. He sent me a text that he was at Oxford Circus but he was okay. Not knowing what was going on, we checked the news, and the horror unfolded. I could not believe it. Then the news of the bus bombing came through, so it wasn’t over, it was still happening. It was so frightening.
G came in at about 10.15am and I was so relieved. I think we all carried on working and then G and I went outside at about 12.30pm, it was eerily quiet. We went into the Thornbury Castle to get a bite to eat. It was just across the road from the office. They had the news on the TV screen on the wall, and that is the moment it felt even more real and scary that there could still be more bombs. I think the safety of the office and work had sort of put a protective barrier against the real world. I remember that we were so frightened. Seeing all the images of the injured people, normal commuters like us.
We went back in the office and I remember about an hour later we were all told to go home, and to only come in tomorrow if we felt we could. If we weren’t coming in, we were to do store visits. Most people had to walk home as public transport had stopped. G lived in Mile End then, so a group of them walked with fellow Londoners across the city. There were a couple of trains running from Marylebone to West Ruislip, so I was lucky to get on one of them and then a U1 bus home. The atmosphere was so eery, so quiet, everyone seemed shell-shocked. I know I was.
When I got home I hugged my mum. (This is rare, as I’m not a huggy person). My dad told me to get a job in Uxbridge. I was still in shock and had the news on non-stop, I could not take my eyes of it. To find out who the victims were, I was nearly crying, thinking it could be any one of us, and a family waiting to hear from them and to never hear from their loved one.
I didn’t go to work the next day. I didn’t do store visits. I just watched the news all day. I went back to on Monday, and I didn’t use the tube. I would walk from Paddington to Marylebone. I stopped going to Street Dance classes in Victoria as I didn’t want to use the tube. I didn’t use it again until September, when a bunch of friends and family got together in London and we decided not to be scared and live our life. I won’t forget this day, and everyday I am grateful to be alive, to have been able to get married and have a child. Something that was taken away from those victims of 7/7. May they rest in peace.