London’s theatreland faces disruption as suspected World War Two bomb found

Police evacuated buildings in Soho and closed surrounding streets

Police stand outside the Palace Theatre in the Soho area of London after what's thought to be an unexploded World War II bomb was dug up at a construction site Monday Feb. 3, 2020. An area covering several blocs of the tightly packed neighborhood was cordoned off while police assessed the device. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

British Police on Monday evacuated buildings in London's busy Soho district, famed for its prevalence of theatres, after the discovery of a potential unexploded Second World War bomb.

Authorities were called to the scene near Dean Street at 1.42pm local time on Monday. Police have set up cordons and closed some surrounding roads as evacuations take place.

“Cordons are in place and the item will be assessed. The cordons are in place between Oxford Street, Charing Cross Road, Shaftesbury Avenue, Lexington Street and Poland Street,” police said.

“All roads in between those mentioned are closing and evacuations will be taking place shortly,” they added. Police are expected to reduce the size of the cordons later on Monday.

Heidi Fischer, who works in Soho, said a receptionist at her office said two Second World War bombs had been discovered under a nearby hotel.  She said the streets outside were packed.

"I've never seen it so busy because, I guess, all the places around have been evacuated, so it was just filled with people from having come out of every shop. Especially with Soho, the streets are so small and confined it was really quite a sight," she told The National.

Author Tracey Thorn had to cancel a book signing at the Groucho Club in Dean Street.

The German air force dropped thousands of bombs on the British capital during the war, killing tens of thousands of people. Bombs left over from the conflict are still occasionally uncovered during construction work.

Little Black Book, a company in Dean Street, tweeted: "Anyone trying to share news with LBB right now, the office has been evacuated along with half of Soho. Hoping to be back up and running in 1-2 hours."