The impact of the 1996 Docklands bomb still shudders through the families who lives it ripped apart.

Some still live within walking distance of where the IRA detonated its device killing Inam Bashir and John Jeffries and injuring 40 others.

Almost all physical remnants of the destruction have disappeared, with the Newstop2000 kiosk where they died about to be demolished.

But four of those affected by the blast have now spoken out, some for the first time, about the unseen repercussions.

Their stories form part of a short film and exhibition Not A Split Second: Remembering The Docklands Bomb , which opens at Republic Gallery on Friday, March 31.

Visitors will be able to hear from Ihsan Bashir (the brother of Inam), Nadia Hadid (the wife of a man who was caught up in the blast with his father and who suffered brain damage as a result), Joyce Brown (a Midland Bank cleaner who was hit by ceiling tiles as parts of the building collapsed) and Jonathan Ganesh (president of the Docklands Victims Association who knew both victims killed in the blast and was himself injured).

Around 30 photographs, sourced from planners, victims and local authority staff will show what the site looked like after the bomb and how it has developed since.

The project is the result of a partnership between Dr George Legg from King’s College London’s Department Of Liberal Arts, who wrote a Phd on the IRA in Ireland and is now examining its impact on London, and east London artist Lucy Harrison .

Docklands exhibition: Lucy Harrison

She said: “Most of those caught up in the bomb that day were not the well-paid city workers that people may imagine.

“The victims were newsagents, security guards and cleaners.

“Some of the victims’ families were just left to deal with the aftermath. They are still campaigning for adequate compensation.”

The Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill aimed at freeing up some of former Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi’s £9.5billion in frozen assets to help those maimed by the violence was due for a second reading in the House of Commons on Friday, March 24 (CHECK).

It has already been blocked once after an MP objected before it could be read, angering campaigners who say victims deserve help to ease their ongoing suffering.

Colonel Gaddafi’s Libyan regime supplied Semtex explosive to the IRA, which it used to make the device.

The 3,000-pound lorry bomb exploded at 7.01pm on February 9, 1996, marking the end to a 17-month ceasefire, destroying numerous buildings and creating a 32-foot crater close to South Quay DLR station.

Docklands exhibition. Photo courtesy Tower Hamlets Archives

Lucy said: “Through our interviews, we realised the impact this event has had on victims and their families, even years later.

“The way that they describe their recollections tells us a lot about how people deal with traumatic experiences in different ways.

“Most of the people we’ve interviewed are still local residents, and the project has shown the important place that this event holds in the local history of Docklands.”

The exhibition also examines how architects and planners responded to the damage and recognises the changes to Docklands that were prompted by the bomb and that are still going on in the local area.

Docklands exhibition. Photo courtesy Tower Hamlets Archives

“As South Quay Plaza is currently undergoing a major redevelopment, we felt the memory of this explosion and its impact on the local community and surrounding architecture needed to be recorded,” said Dr Legg.

“The logic of the Northern Irish peace process – the belief that the past is best remembered through a fresh start – has meant the victims’ perspective is often undermined.

“This bomb arguably set that peace process in motion and yet the stories of its survivors are little-heard.

“Working with an artist helped to ensure a visual and oral record of this traumatic event, but it was also vital in helping to map the personal meanings people form with the spaces they inhabit.”

Republic Gallery , Capstan House Atrium, 1 Clove Crescent, East India, Friday, March 31- Sunday, April 9, 2pm to 6pm or by appointment on 07964 878315.

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