Former Hampstead school teacher relives earthquake horror

A former teacher at Hampstead School has described how he was caught up in the biggest earthquake ever to hit Japan.

Jonny Liddell, 30, taught science at Hampstead School from 2002 to 2007. He then moved to Tokyo where he has taught science at an English school since.

On March 11, he was teaching his last lesson of the week, when the earthquake hit. “I’d had quite a busy week, it was the last lesson of the day and I was looking forward to the weekend,” Mr Liddell told the Ham&High. “It started quite gently but then we realised it was larger than previous earthquakes.

“We were under the desks for two minutes. As soon as it was over we evacuated all the children but then there were aftershocks. We could feel the ground shaking and see the windows rattling. At the time it wasn’t frightening but what was frightening was the uncertainty over the next few days.”

He added: “It’s been amazing to see how the Japanese have dealt with it. They put us Westerners to shame. As we ran for the hills, the Japanese had a real stoical way of doing things.”

Mr Liddell is hoping to give assemblies at schools in Camden to educate pupils about the situation. He also wants to encourage people to help raise cash for survivors.