The 7/7 Requiem Film is a prayer for peace for the 52 souls who lost their lives in the 2005 London Bombings. Directed by Russell Square film-maker Kathy Hill with Requiem sung by Renata Jonscher.
7/7 2005 London bombings - facts
Four suicide bombers struck in central London on Thursday 7 July 2005 killing 52 people and injuring more than 770.
3 bombs went off at 08.50 BST on underground trains just outside Liverpool Street and Edgeware Road Stations, and on another travelling between King’s Cross and Russell Square.. The final explosion was about an hour later on a number 30 double-decker bus in Tavistock Square, between King’s Cross and Russell Square.
26 people were killed on the tube at Russell Square and 340 were injured. The bomber was Germaine Lindsay, aged 19.
13 people were killed on the bus at Tavistock Square and 110 were injured. The bomber was Hasib Hussain, aged 18.
7 people were killed on the tube at Aldgate and 171 were injured, at least 10 seriously. The bomber was Shehzad Tanweer, aged 24.
6 people were killed on the tube at Edgeware Road and 163 were injured. The bomber was Mohammad Sidique Khan, aged 30.
Russell Square underground is on the Piccadilly Line and is 21.3 metres (70 feet) below ground. Intense heat of up to 60 degrees C, dust, fumes, vermin, asbestos and initial concerns that the tunnel might collapse delayed the extraction of bodies and forensic examination.
I was at home in Russell Square when the bombs went off. I was in shock as I saw the image of the corner of the building where I live in all the news footage. I tried to go out to talk to the local shopkeepers in Marchmont Street.
The entire area was a major crime scene criss crossed with yellow tape. Police were everywhere. They asked where I was going and said I could only pass if I was a local resident.
Most of the local shops had been closed by the police. All underground and bus services had been stopped. Only Indian Joe at the tobacconist refused to go home so I stood in his shop for a while then went to see what was going on in the area.
I kept bursting into tears involuntarily then felt numb and couldn’t think straight.
The workers in the local health food shop were preparing to go home. As I spoke to the cashier who was pregnant she started to cry in the middle of a sentence. I cried with her.
I thought of going home to get my video camera but couldn’t bring myself to record this awful day.
The streets were mostly deserted except for police. The road to Russell Square underground was closed off to cars and pedestrians.
At the top of Marchmont Street I was stopped from going further by police cordons. I asked if anyone needed help or a place to stay. A man from the local youth hostel said he might need someone to help counselling volunteer rescuers who had post traumatic stress symptoms after helping take the dead and injured out of Russell Square tube.
In the early afternoon still no public transport and no cars allowed to drive in the area. The strange sight of hundreds of people walking home. Too quiet.
The whole of London closed off. Newscasters telling people to stay where they were. My friends all in different areas of London.
No way of knowing if this was the end of the bombings or just the beginning. Or the end of the world.
No way of knowing how long London would be closed off with no public transport.
No messages or calls asking how I was.
I got them all the next day after the phone services were back to normal.
I couldn’t face being alone that evening. I walked a long detour to avoid the closed streets to get to the opening of an art show near the British Museum. Luckily the owner decided not to let anyone or anything get the better of him.
When it finished I asked neighbours in my building if I could go and sit with them so I didn’t have to be alone in my flat. They kindly invited me in.
The youth hostel owner rang to say that a volunteer rescuer was in a bad way, wandering around talking to himself, apparently terrified, after seeing some images of the bombings on tv. I gave him some numbers of professional victim support counselling services and offered to visit and sit with the person if necessary.
Russell Square tube was closed for weeks while the rescue workers continued to bring out the dead. I saw them going into Indian Joe’s, sweating streaked faces, to buy headache pills.
The bus was hidden from view by a giant hording but you knew what was behind it.
The local council held a public event in Russell Square Gardens where officials spoke about the tragedy. Then the mike was opened to passers by.
A homeless man mourned the terrible losses then said 'Wow this is amazing. I’ve never spoken into a microphone before or had people listen to me.’
A young woman with trembling voice ‘I need to talk about what’s happened. I’m so upset. No one’s talking about it. I need to talk to someone.’
They planted an oak tree to commemorate the site in the park where people put flowers and messages.
For months I kept seeing things explode wherever I went. I tried replacing every explosion with a bunch of flowers bursting into bloom. I walked everywhere for a week before summoning up the strength to get on a tube and bus again. People were jittery.
I kept feeling there was no proper mourning for the dead or healing of the trauma suffered by London and my local area.
A year later I went to look at the floral tributes at Russell Square underground and in Russell Square Gardens and decided to film them. I told my composer friend Patrick Wilson that I wanted to make a short film as an attempt to honour the dead and express my wish that their souls find peace in the eternal light that all religions speak of. And my wish that all people on the earth live in peace.
He shared my sentiments and wrote the beautiful 7/7 requiem.
This film is my poor attempt to fulfil the artist’s role of making beauty out of suffering.
All material copyright Soulstar Films