It was twenty years ago today that a bomb, planted by the Irish Republican Army, devasted the heart of Manchester city centre. On Saturday June 15th 1996 at 11.17am, the largest bomb detonated in peacetime Britain was detonated from within a parked van on Corporation Street. Many landmark buildings were either destroyed or badly damaged including Manchester Cathedral, the Corn Exchange, Chetham’s School of Music, the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Arndale shopping centre. It would take years and millions of pounds of restoration and development to put Manchester back together. Miraculously, due to a telephoned warning and a successful evacuation, there were no fatalities. Two hundred people were injured, many as a result of glass shrapnel from blown out windows over a large area of the city.
I'm marking the anniversary of the outrageous event that Manchester will never forget with an image of the postbox that withstood the full blast of the bomb. Amongst the ruin of shops and offices, this Victorian style box stood defiant and became to symbolize the resolve and strength of a city that would rebuild itself and once again stand proud. A memorial plaque carries the inscription "This postbox remained standing almost undamaged on June 15, 1996 when this area was devastated by a bomb. The box was removed during the rebuilding of the city centre and was returned to its original site on November 22nd 1999".