Tuesday, August 09, 2011

London Trip - Strange Times

Today I travelled down to London for an afternoon meeting which was planned to finish around 5pm,with all the mindless looting going on around London I paid closer attention to all the news reports, seeing if there were any reports of trouble within the bounds of central London.  There was only one report of a problem at Oxford Circus on Sunday which the police said was contained so my main thinking was whether to walk to our meeting or to take the tube but I think it would be more the return journey that had the potential to be at risk.

I arrived at Euston just after 11:15am with a couple of colleagues, it was a clear sunny day so we decided to do a 30 minute walk to where the meeting was planned to take place.  The route was normal / uneventful, all shops along the way were open and there were no signs on problems or concerns.

We finally got to our destination which is a long street that is just full of expensive jewellery shops (no Ratners here).  We were expected at what we told is known as the diamond exchange because as the name suggests it's where diamond dealers go to trade and with this security to get in is very tight with thick full length turn gates like you'd see in those bank job movies.  This place also has normal office lets for none diamond related business which is what we were visiting.

Now when we entered this street the atmospheric had changed, alot of the jewellery shops had their shutters half way down and the odd one had a staff member outside looking on nervously.  We were early and had an hour to kill so went for a bite to eat and also met up with some other colleagues who were also attending.  When the hour was up we headed back to the street where we now noticed that a few of shops had cleared down there diamond shop front displays and shut up shop, we got into the building for our meeting and commenced business.

Within 30-45 minutes an office worker came into our meeting room and said the police had advised us to leave the area, so with that advise we quickly wrapped up and headed into the street to decide how best to get back to Euston (tube or walk).  Out in the street all the jewellery shops were now closed with their security shutters down.  Two police were at one end of the street with another five at the other end in the direction we decided to walk back to Euston.  Once we got out of the street the rest of the walk back was pretty normal, on the route there are not many shops that match the type you seen in news reports.

I think the police had decided to play safe and get everyone out of the area that has a potential risk so it's easier for them to deal with any issues and based on previous days things seemed to be at risk of happening from late afternoon although I've not heard of looting of jewellery shops, seems it's trainers and mobiles that are order of the day.