22 October 2005

Today in history: Bomb blast in London club


22 October 1974

Damage to the interior of the club was extensive

A bomb has exploded in Brooks Club, London, injuring three members of staff.

One of the first on the scene was Conservative Party leader Edward Heath who was dining nearby.

"I don't think it was meant for me. I didn't decide to have dinner out until a quarter of an hour before," he said.

Describing the scene, Mr Heath said: "There is a lot of damage, the ceiling is down in one room and it is a shambles."

None of the waiters is believed to be seriously injured and they are being treated in hospital for cuts and shock.

They had been relaxing in the restaurant area after all the diners had left when the bomb went off.

Wine Steward Michael Plank described what happened: "I was sitting on a chair in the serving area behind a screen eating a meal and the two boys were washing up. We heard something smashing like crockery."

As they went to investigate the bomb exploded.

There was a function taking place on the floor above in a room just off the main dining area, but there were no reports of injuries.

Police are now trying to establish how and where the 5lb (2.27kg) bomb was planted.

"It may well have been placed from the inside rather than the outside by someone who may have had access. There is always a possibility it could have been thrown," said Commander Robert Hardy of Scotland Yard.

The bombing is the latest in a series of attacks on clubs with military connections.

Although Brooks Club has no serving officers as members it does attract retired officers.

Bomb squad detectives said they thought it had been an "establishment target".

In Context

Investigations by Scotland Yard's bomb squad concluded the bomb had been left inside the restaurant.

It is thought the Provisional IRA was behind the spate of bomb attacks in London in 1974.

The attacks came in a year of IRA violence after an attempt at power sharing between the different factions in Northern Ireland broke down.

Later that year, Edward Heath was a direct target of the IRA when a bomb exploded at his London home on 22 December.

It was the third time in a year he had been involved in a bomb attack. No-one was injured.

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