Govanhill is one of the most cosmopolitan and vibrant communities in Glasgow.

A popular area over the years for people settling in the city for the first time.

However, 37 years ago the neighbourhood was the scene of one of Britain's biggest ever police anti-terrorist operations.

Their target was 34-year-old Patrick Magee - then the prime suspect for the Grand Hotel bombing in Brighton which had almost claimed the life of the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Glasgow Times:

He had been living in a safehouse above a pub in Langside Road, in the heart of Govanhill, and reportedly supported by IRA sympathisers in the city.

Five people died and several others were seriously injured after a bomb went off during the Conservative Party conference in October 1984, collapsing the building and trapping others inside.

At the time Thatcher had been preparing her speech for later that day to members.

After three months of painstaking detective work, Magee had been identified as the man who planted the bomb.

But by this time he was well away from the scene of his crime and nobody knew where he could be found.

It was one of the biggest crimes ever committed in Britain - the attempted assassination of a Prime Minister and her cabinet.

Glasgow Times:

The bomb had been rigged to a timer and triggered remotely by an electronic device.

The longest timer the IRA normally used was three months, so the decision was made to check back through hotel records for that period. 

The bomber might have been a registered hotel guest during this period or simply have visited a guest's room.

Detectives wanted to speak to everyone who'd been inside the hotel at any point during this three-month window.

It was a formidable task.

There was no in-hotel CCTV footage and not everyone had paid by credit card making guests harder to trace.

Instead, police had to rely on the hotel's handwritten registration cards, phone records, cash receipts and other documents. 

Every guest and member of staff from that time had to be traced and interviewed before they could be eliminated from the inquiry.

Glasgow Times:

Meanwhile scores of officers carried out a fingertip search of the wreckage. 

The work took them three weeks and was particularly dangerous with the remaining structure threatening to fall at any time.

Coaches carrying search teams to and from the Grand took a different route every time, in case of another attack.

The first real breakthrough came a fortnight into the search when a detective inspected the u-bend of a toilet in one of the rooms – 629.

It was blocked with debris, dust and water, but in the mud was the remnants of a 24-day timer.

A housekeeper responsible for room 629 had noticed that the bath panel had been previously moved, because there were grease marks around it.

Here was the first evidence that this was where the bomb had been placed.

A waiter also recalled delivering a bottle of vodka to the same room. 

Detectives knew that the Russian spirit could also be used to wash off traces of explosives from hands.

Fingerprint experts examined the hotel registration cards one by one focusing on cards from room 629.

By early November police had a suspect - an Englishman Roy Walsh with an address in London.

No one who lived there had ever heard of Walsh nor had any of the neighbours.

The mystery guest had stayed at the Grand four weeks previously - for three nights - around the same time the bomb was planted.

The hunt was on for 'Roy Walsh', whose name was released to the public in case they recognised it.

Roy Walsh was in fact Patrick Magee.

Glasgow Times:

Fingerprint experts uncovered two prints on one of the registration cards that matched Magee's - a known member for the IRA.

However, Magee's whereabouts were still a mystery - he had gone completely off the radar. 

This time his name was not released to the public, but instead confined to a small group of senior officers.

In June 1985, eight months after the bombing, a Metropolitan Police surveillance team, purely by chance, spotted Magee at Carlisle station with another IRA man they had been tailing.

When they asked their bosses if they should make an arrest, they were instead told just to follow the pair who had boarded a train to Glasgow. 

The surveillance team - who hadn't been told Magee was a suspect for the Brighton bombing - were waiting for him when he arrived in the city. 

They followed him and the other IRA suspect out of the train station to the Southside of the city and the flat in Langside Road.

The problem was that the surveillance team had no idea which of the eight apartments in the block the pair had gone into.

They kept observation outside while senior officers decided what to do.

Firearms were issued, just in case. But sending in an armed team was deemed too risky because of the possibility of a major shootout in which families in the block might be caught up.

A softly-softly approach was decided on. 

Glasgow Times:

The area was surrounded by firearms officers brought in from all over Glasgow, and an officer was stationed outside each flat. 

On a given signal, each one rapped on the door and called out: "Pizza delivery!"

To their astonishment, one was answered by the unsuspecting Magee himself.

He was seized by the arm and thrown out of the property to other officers as more police officers burst into the flat. 

Four other IRA suspects inside were arrested. They offered no resistance as they were taken into custody.

After months of meticulous investigation, the police had their man for the Brighton bombing. 

They had also averted other terrorist attacks which could have devastated Britain. Inside the Langside Road flat they also found evidence of a second plot to plant bombs in London and various seaside resorts during the summer.

Investigations showed that Magee and another woman had been previously staying in a room within James Gray Street in Shawlands about a mile away. That address was also raided and the owner there arrested.

Police then discovered that weapons and explosives had been kept in the flat and a cellar downstairs.

After his arrest on June 22, 1985, Magee was taken to Stewart Street police office in Glasgow before being transferred to Paddington Green, the specialist anti-terrorist police station in London. 

There, detectives could finally meet and interview the man they'd been after for the last nine months.

During the lengthy interviews Magee said nothing - looking right past the interviewing officers.

One of them later said: "He just sat there. Didn't say a dickie bird. He didn't even look at us."

At the Old Bailey in London the following year, Magee pleaded not guilty to five counts of murder and to two other charges connected to the Grand Hotel bombing. 

On June 10, 1986, he was convicted of all seven. 

For these, and for his role in the planned seaside-bombing campaign, he was later given eight life sentences - with the judge branding him "a man of exceptional cruelty and inhumanity”.

At his trial, the court heard that the Grand Hotel plot had been devised four years earlier because of Thatcher's attitude towards the death of republican hunger striker and MP Bobby Sands.

As he was led from court to begin the multiple life terms, Magee gave a clenched fist salute.

However, in 1999 he walked free from jail under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement after serving 14 years.

The following year Magee admitted in a newspaper interview that he carried out the bombing, but claimed he hadn't left a fingerprint on the registration card, saying: "If that was my fingerprint I did not put it there.”

It's not known if Magee ever returned to Glasgow or any of his former haunts in Govanhill and Shawlands.

His bombing attack was the worst ever inflicted on a UK Government, almost wiping out the entire Tory cabinet including Thatcher. 

Trade and industry minister Norman Tebbit was seriously injured and his wife Margaret was left paralysed.

The wife of the then Scottish Conservative party chairman Sir Donald MacLean was one of those who died in the resulting carnage.

However, with the loss of life had come the realisation that no one could consider themselves beyond the reach of the terrorists.

In a statement claiming responsibility in the aftermath of the Brighton bomb, the IRA warned that worse was still to come.

"Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once.

 "You will have to be lucky always."