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One November night in 1974, two pubs in Birmingham were destroyed within minutes of each other by two bombs planted by the IRA.

Twenty one people were killed in the Mulberry Bush and the nearby Tavern in the Town and 182 were injured.

Six men imprisoned for the attacks Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker had their convictions overturned by the Court of Appeal in March 1991.

Both pubs were later renamed the Mulberry Bush was turned into a tourist information centre in 2003 and the Tavern in the Town has been renamed The Yard of Ale.

On the evening that the bombs went off at the Mulberry Bush and The Tavern, I was waiting for my boyfriend, Nick Owen, a reporter for BBC Radio Birmingham, to return from Birmingham Airport.

He had been there all day waiting for the body of the Coventry Post Office bomber James McDade to be flown to Ireland.

Hundreds of police officers lined the approach to Birmingham airport for security.

In the early evening, Nick Owen called the night man on the news desk to let him know that it seemed unlikely the plane would leave and that he was going home.

It was then that the night man told Nick Owen: “I think the shit has just hit the fan.” He was hearing, of course, of the first reports of the bombs going off.

That night we were planning to go to the BBC Radio Birmingham party for fans and listeners which was to be held very close to the Rotunda building.

Instead of going to that we were glued to the television for hours as time seemed to stand still and the screen was filled with images of the devastation.

David Hoare, who did a radio programme for BBC Radio Birmingham was one of the first people at the scene since he had been at the function getting ready for the night’s festivities with Les Ross, the drive time DJ.

I’ll never forget seeing him report on the incident with tears streaming down his face.

At the time I was a student at Gosta Green and I remember going into town a couple of days later, to my classes, and my bus route took me right past the Tavern, a pub I used to drink in all the time.

The front of the building was covered in flower tributes to all of those who had suffered and died in there.

Amanda Bradley, USA

Your memories so far

I occasionally went into the Mulberry Bush before the bombings but afterwards I was always anxious and did not want to go into either of the pubs because I could not get the bombings out of my head.

It was a terrible time. Changing the pub names did not make any difference the destruction of so many lives had taken place.

Val Maitland, UK

My husband (then boyfriend) and I had just arrived in the city centre.

Being a Thursday we would normally go to The Tavern in the Town, but I had met a friend on the bus and we were walking with her up New Street to meet her boyfriend at Bogarts at the other end of New Street first.

We had just turned into the bottom of New Street when we heard the explosion at the Mulberry Bush.

We were stunned and stood still for a short time wondering what to do, then a policeman came running around the corner from the direction of the Mulberry and he was shouting to people to clear the area.

There was another bomb, so we started to run up New Street.

As we drew level with the Tavern, the bomb went off.

We were on the opposite side of the road and there were cars parked at the side, which shielded us partly, but I still see this large pane of glass flying across the road at us. Instinct threw us to the ground and the pane hit the top of the nearest car.

Glass shattered all around us from shop windows, my ears were ringing, but by some miracle we were physically unhurt.
mulberry hobo bag black friday Birmingham pub blasts remembered