Explosion was in tourist heartland


THE scene of last night's explosion lies near the heart of London's entertainment centre at Covent Garden a magnet for tourists and nightlife seekers.

Aldwych is the site of several landmark institutions in the capital, including the BBC's Bush House, India House. Australia House Somerset House and the London School of Economics.

The explosion occurred a few hundred yards from the Royal Courts of Justice, and the magistrates courts at Bow Street.

The site of the blast is near London's theatreland with the Duchess, Strand, Drury Lane and Aldwych theatres nearby.

The 171 New Cross to King's Cross bus had travelled over Waterloo Bridge along Lancaster Place, passing a Ministry of Defence building and was turning onto Aldwych when the bomb exploded.

Somerset House was the former national record office of births, marriages and deaths.

It is now partly used as an art gallery by the world renowned Courtauld Institute.

Also nearby is Clement Danes Church, known as the RAF Church, which holds a special service for former and serving members of the service every Remembrance Day Sunday.

Outside the church is a statue of second World War hero Bomber Harris, erected in memory of the RAF's legendary figure.

The London School of Economics, a hotbed of student unrest in the 1960s and which has provided several former and present world leaders, is also nearby.

The area also provides a temporary home to thousands of tourists every year, housing several hotels, including the luxurious Waldorf Hotel and, further down the Strand, the famous Savoy Hotel.