Unseen photographs capture the devastating and emotional aftermath of the 1996 IRA bomb in Manchester city centre

A cache of archived images have been released by the Greater Manchester Fire Service on the 18th anniversary of the Arndale blast

Harrowing and emotive photographs capturing the aftermath of the 1996 IRA bomb in Manchester have been released for the first time.

The archived images show the shocking extent of the destruction caused by the bomb, which devastated the city centre and showered shoppers with masonry and glass.

The powerful shots, taken by Greater Manchester Fire Service officers, show groups of grief-wracked emergency workers sifting through the rubble in the hours after the blast.  

The devastated remains of a holiday shop, a shoe store and a nearby restaurant are also pictured. It is believed that a third of the city’s shops were affected by the blast, which threw rubble half a mile from its epicentre.

The images were archived in the Salford headquarters of Manchester’s fire service, but they are being released today – 15 June – to mark the 18th anniversary of the bombing.

In the hours after the explosion, shocked officers embarked on the grim task of searching for casualties, at first mistaking shop-window mannequins for bodies.

 

The 3,3000lb device was the largest bomb to explode on mainland Britain. Miraculously, no one was killed – although 212 were injured by falling debris.

The explosive was hidden in a lorry parked on Corporation Street, outside Marks & Spencer and the Arndale shopping centre, in Manchester’s city centre.

It detonated at 11.20am, on 15 June 1996, nearly two hours after Granada TV studios received a call claiming that there was a bomb at the corner of Corporation Street and Cannon Street.

The caller, who had an Irish accent, relayed an IRA codeword so that police would know the threat was genuine.

A holiday shop is ruined by the explosion ( Manchester Fire Service/Flickr) A holiday shop is ruined by the explosion ( Manchester Fire Service/Flickr)

Special officers used to control football crowds were drafted in to carry out a mammoth evacuation of up to 80,000 shoppers and workers in Manchester.

By 11.10am, ten minutes before the bomb detonated, a cordon had been established about a quarter of a mile from the bomb.

But the sheer force of the blast meant that rubble was strewn half a mile from the blast site, showering some evacuated shoppers with masonry.

Disbelief is etched on the face of a fireman (Manchester Fire Servic/Flickr) Disbelief is etched on the face of a fireman (Manchester Fire Servic/Flickr)
On 20 June 1996, the IRA claimed responsibility for the bombing, which has caused £1.1 billion worth of damage as of today, and stated that it "sincerely regretted" causing injury to civilians

The men responsible for the blast have still not been found – and in 2006, Greater Manchester Police admitted there was no realistic chance of prosecuting those responsible.

The 69 images were uploaded to the fire service’s Flickr account.

Watch the video of the blast, captured by a Greater Manchester police helicopter, below:

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin