Session 2: Personal consequences (1): Who was affected by 7/7?

History (Ages 11-14)
Session 2: Personal consequences (1): Who was affected by 7/7?
Key Messages

There was a wide range of people involved in the bombings beyond the 52 fatalities – the injured, eye-witnesses, doctors, police, fire brigade, etc – and each was profoundly affected by the experience.

  • Explore the diverse range of people involved in 7/7
  • Discern relevant information in a wide range of source material
  • Consider the usefulness of eye-witness accounts
  • Summarise those involved in 7/7
  • Expand lists of consequences
  • Discuss what they have learned


If students asked friends and family about [qtip:7/7|On 7th July, 2005 four suicide bombers coordinated attacks on the London transport system. 52 people were killed and estimated 700 injured.] for homework, this is the time to share that – in small groups and/or whole class.  They might be able to record further consequences in their book at this stage.  Even if this task was not completed, certainly remind them of the overall enquiry question and recap on previous lesson.  Emphasise that 52 (+4 bombers) died that day and over 700 were injured (probably a conservative estimate) and an unknown number of people connected to those killed and injured have experienced unrecorded effects.  MV History Resource 2.1 Presentation Slide 2 shows one of the iconic images of the day – a woman with her face badly burned and covered – and how she looked after her recovery.

Phase 1

The specific focus for this lesson is to consider who was affected by 7/7 on the actual day other than the 52 victims themselves.  Play MV History Resource 2.2 Dr Buckman testimonial video (15 minutes). Dr Laurence Buckman was at a meeting at BMA House (British Medical Association) on Tavistock Square when the bomb exploded on the number 30 bus. He helped the injured all that day. While watching the video, students begin to fill in MV History Resource 2.3 Summary sheet Who was involved in 7/7, focusing on:

  • Who was involved 7/7 and how
  • How 7/7 is described

After watching the video, give students MV History 2.3.1 Source summaries to fill out first column only ("Dr Buckman testimony"). This could be done as a class, individually, in pairs or groups.

Plenary 1

Discussion of the film. It is worth discussing two aspects not included on the sheet:

  • The coincidences that day (bus diverted so the bomb went off outside the BMA on a day when it was unusually full of doctors at meetings; medical director of Lincs air ambulance and an expert in disaster management was there;  policeman turning up with an armful of drip bags just as they were running out – he saved lives).
  • What Dr Buckman has to say about whether this is "all about Muslims".  (No – several of those who died were Muslims – this isn’t about Muslims, it is about murderers).   NB –more knowledge you can add at this point - note that three out of the four bombers had criminal records which is fairly typical.  Bombers/would-be bombers often tend to be "misfits" – loners, unhappy in their personal lives.
  • We also suggest talking about hate crime and the rise of Islamophobia. 269 religious hate crimes in the three weeks following the attack. Verbal and minor assaults causing emotional impact. There were also attacks on mosques. 68 faith crimes in London alone.

Phase 2

Discuss how useful Dr Buckman’s account is in understanding what happened on 7/7.  Useful because he was at the scene of the Tavistock bombing within minutes, he saw the direct consequences of the bomb first-hand, he experienced the chaos etc, he has no reasons not to report it as fully as he can.  Limited because the Tavistock bombing was one of four, he was very absorbed in treating patients, he was experiencing it as a doctor rather than someone who was injured/an eye witness etc so this is one perspective.

What other accounts might be useful for comparison and to find out more? Info packs 1 to 4 contain various eye witness accounts of the events as reported on the BBC website. A link is given in Info Pack 3 ( Students use information packs to find out more about who was affected and how 7/7 has been described. Note that we have included a lot of information that you will need to select as appropriate. Source Packs 1 and 3 have been provided with the key messages underlined (“DIFFERENTIATED”). We suggest giving students a selection of two accounts, one that is appropriate to their level, plus one from the people on the affected transport, and then look at the BBC article as a class. Students record in the column headed "BBC article" on the Source summaries sheet.


Draw on areas of comparison between the two columns on the Source summaries sheet, including the hindsight that Buckman has as a witness. Could bring in information about the rise of Islamophobia over time.

Plenary 2 (Conclusion)

Whole class discussion about who was involved – possibly one pair/small group identifies type of person affected (eg chefs in a hotel) and another pair/small group has to explain how they were involved (provided improvised equipment eg tabletops as stretchers, talked to the injured to keep them going, looked after the "walking wounded").

How has 7/7 been described?  Which phrases were most commonly used?  Which were most poignant?

Students to record personal consequences of 7/7 in their books as per previous lesson.


Students to research Gill Hicks or Martine Wright online.  Find out what happened to them on 7/7 and what they have done since.