Spitalfields market was evacuated yesterday after builders hit upon an unexploded bomb from the Second World War.
The bomb, uncovered just 24 hours after the nation commemorated those who lost their lives in Britain’s wars, was discovered by a construction worker in a digger near the market.
The area lies at the heart of the East End which was subjected to some of the most intense German bombing during the Blitz and was discovered on the site of the former Fruit and Wool Exchange, currently undergoing development.
Police cleared the site by 9.45am. Square Pie, a local eatery on Commercial Street, tweeted that they expected to remain shut all day.
But traders were allowed back in and business resumed as normal at about midday, after explosives officers made safe and removed the shell.
Our @oldspitalfields restaurant is likely to be closed today due to WWII unexploded bomb found at Fruit Exchange site on Brushfield St
— Square Pie (@SquarePie) November 12, 2015
“It was a little bit worrying to be honest, but luckily we didn’t have any customers in the store at the time” said Chris Reynolds, manager of menswear shop Hackett London. “There was quite a crowd but no panic”.
He said he was surprised when the police told him such occurrences were “not uncommon” and happen more than people realise.
When allowed to return to the store with his team, he found some people already on the pavement outside his shop, sitting on chairs waiting for them to reopen.
Police reported that the shell was “safely removed” and all cordons were lifted by 11.45am.
By Amalia Illgner