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Category: Disaster Tours

Responding to Terrorism

Responding to Terrorism

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Earlier this week I posted a blog about Jacobean ‘terrorism’ (to coincide with the 408th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot). This was one of the issues that I mentioned today during my lecture on Responding to Terrorism delivered to students from the Department of War Studies at Kings College London.

I’ve provided my slides below, and ask you to forgive the formatting errors which have occurred in uploading to SlideShare! I’ve sat through lectures where the presenter reads text from a slide…that is not my style. However, without the description to accompany the slides some of the points may not make complete sense. In hindsight, I should have recorded my presentation…I’ll try and arrange that the next time I present on something.

Anyway, enough from me, take a look at the slides and let me know what you think.

If you want to know more on my thoughts on responding to terrorism, or would like to invite me to present, please get in touch!

You’ll also notice in the slides that I relate back to a number of historical London disasters – remember you can find out more about them on one of my Disaster Tours!

Signs of a past disaster

Signs of a past disaster

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At University I was introduced to two opposing geologic paradigms.

  • The Uniformitarianism made popular by Charles Lyell, which holds that the present is the key to the past; that processes in progress now have always been in progress in much the same way
  • This was in contrast to the idea of Catastrophism – the idea that Earth had been shaped by sudden, short-lived and violent events

These were presented to me as a dichotomy, you were either on one side of the fence or the other. A notion which seemed absurd to me – why couldn’t you have gradual change punctuated by more rapid events? And this is something which I think transcends the world of geology, with parallels in our own societies.

Each of us go about our daily business, we get up, go to work, pay taxes and go home. There’s a slight change every day which gradually changes the world around us, we recognise this as development or progress (or indeed decline). In addition to that, we occasionally experience more catastrophic events in the form of disasters, which exert massive change over comparatively short time-scales. Change results from both of these, there isn’t one dominant paradigm, but a combination of factors which shape both our world and our lives.

The signs of past disasters are all around us. Especially if you live in or visit London.


Today marks the anniversary of the ignition of the Great Fire of London in 1666 (play the game here!). This fire razed 80% of the walled city to the ground (however, it’s worth acknowledging that by this time, London’s conurbation had grown extensively and in total only around 25% of ‘London’ was affected). Over 13,200 buildings were destroyed, over 100,000 people made homeless. This was 347 years ago, and there have been many period of rebuilding, subsequent incidents and further rebuilding since then. Yet the scars of the Great Fire, which is commemorated by The Monument (you can climb the spiral stars to the top – I’d recommend it!) can still be seen in a few locations, if you know what to look for.

With a 2000 year history, London bears the scars of a variety of incidents which have befallen her. Some tangible, some less so, but there’s no shortage of reminders around you in London that as much as things might evolve day to day, there’s nothing like a catastrophe to bring about change.

DisasterTours can point out some of those scars, and give you some tips of preparing for London’s next emergency. Join us on our first tour on 19 October to uncover London’s disaster past.

Coming Soon – London Disaster Tours

Coming Soon – London Disaster Tours

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From Autumn 2013 mtthwhgn will be launching Disaster Tours of London.

With a long history of emergencies – from the Great Fire of London to the 2005 London Bombings, incidents of all types have befallen the city, which consistently rebounds and rebuilds itself. What is it that makes London resilient?

With such a varied history, no two walking tours will take the same route, ensuring that everyone gets a unique experience.Guided by a professional Emergency Planning Specialist, join us to discover secrets of London’s past, including:

  • The tower designed to withstand another Universal Deluge
  • The location of (and reason for) London’s first 999 call
  • The site of the London Beer Flood
  • Trace the steps of the Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko

In addition to insider information on London’s most significant emergencies, learn how you can prepare yourselves for the range of risks that London faces today.

Register you interest in Disaster Tours of London by contacting us.



When:Tag Along Tours will commence from Sept 2013 on Saturdays at 11.00am.Private tours available on request

Price: £20 per person (minimum 2 people) for ‘tag along’ tours. Private tour price on application. All tours must be booked in advance via Eventbrite.

Tour length: Approx 2 hours

Where to meet: On registering you’ll be emailed instructions and a map

All bookings come with a money-back guarantee: if you don’t love it, email us after the tour and we’ll refund the amount of your choice.

Don’t forget – if you’d be interested in joining us on a tour, let us know and we’ll add you to our mailing list.