On 27 September 1990 the IRA endeavoured to cause a major explosion in the conference room at Over-Seas House, London, in what was the called St Andrew's Hall, now Princess Alexandra Hall.
A bomb was placed under the lid of the lectern on the eve of a conference on terrorism at which the then Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Peter Imbert, and a Government minister, William Waldegrave, were to be the speakers, who were targets along with the conference.
This plot was part of a wider campaign by the IRA designed to force the withdrawal of the UK government from Northern Ireland, uniting the entire country. 1990 saw a concerted effort by the group to bomb targets in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The Royal Over-Seas League was not the only club to be targeted, with the Carlton Club suffering serious damage from an explosion on 25 June, which injured 20 people and killed Lord Kaberry, a Conservative politician.
Thankfully, due to the diligence of Conference and Banqueting Manager Tony Hanmer, the bomb was discovered and defused in time. Newspapers throughout the world carried reports of the incident and the then General Manager, Robert Newell, was interviewed by broadcasters, which perhaps surprisingly, resulted in a significant surge in membership applications over the following months.
The IRA continued its campaign, undeterred, for several years, including large-scale attacks on the London Docklands and Manchester city centre in 1996, until calling a ceasefire in 1997, which eventually paved the way for the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.