Bomb Damage at Clearings
At 9.12 pm on Tuesday the 17th December 1974 a bomb placed on a motorcycle outside the telephone exchange in Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, exploded damaging over 700 windows in the Clearings 1 and Clearings 3 buildings. The clearings 3 building which was opposite the telephone exchange bore the brunt of the damage. It was fortunate that there was still a strong security presence who were able to deal with the security issues and inform the General Manager Peter Lachlan and others and to silence the alarm system. There were Partners from Works and Maintenance painting in the ticket factory who felt the full force of the explosion as the windows shattered round them. Fortunately most of the glass flew out into the street and the men were unhurt but shaken.
Mr Sains the Manager works and maintenance was quickly on the scene and was able to make a rough estimate of the damage and to plan for the glaziers to come in the next morning to measure up for the window panes. He was also able to establish that there appeared to be no structural damage.
The street was quickly cordoned off by the police until the glass had been cleared away for forensic research and nearby cars searched. GPO staff and the Clearings security team set up a canteen at the watchbox in Clearings 3 to provide tea and refreshments for the police.
By 4.30 am the cars had been removed from the street and the glass had been cleared away.
The building had lost 387 windows completely shattered by the blast and more than 300 had been cracked. At 6.00 am the cleaners arrived and quickly set to in clearing away the glass inside every office on every floor of the damaged building assisted by many Clearings partners who lived near by as well as a number of Peter Jones partners and by 8 o’clock the place had been transformed.
The director of Services David Gorsky made an inspection of the damaged areas and checked that help was being offered. The Managing Director Peter Jones was quick to offer help from his tradesman in fixing up hundreds of wooden frames battened with polythene to cover the broken windows until they could be glazed.
By the time the chairman Peter Lewis arrived the next day the work had been completed and apart from the buildings being a bit draughty it was business as usual for Clearings.