03 December 2005

Today in history: Bomb explosions in Manchester


3 December 1992

Blast shattered office windows

Two bombs have exploded in the centre of Manchester injuring 65 people.

The first device was in a car parked at Parsonage Gardens, the heart of the city's commercial district, and the second, which caused the majority of injuries, was near the city's Anglican cathedral.

A bomb exploded at 0840 GMT, seven minutes before two warning calls were received.

Police ordered the public out of buildings, unwittingly into the path of the second explosion at 1005.

A spokeswoman for Manchester Royal Infirmary, where victims were taken, said all but one of them had minor wounds caused mostly by flying glass, and were suffering from shock.

A telephone warning of other devices forced police to evacuate the whole of the city centre of shoppers and order office workers to remain indoors - causing widespread disruption.

"The whole of central Manchester is now deserted," said a police spokeswoman.

"Literally tens of thousands of people have been affected by this.''

No one has admitted carrying out the blasts, but it is suspected to be the work of the IRA.

The force of the first explosion caused structural damage and shattered windows in a number of offices in St Mary's Parsonage, behind the Deansgate shopping precinct.

Church refuge

Three office buildings - Cardinal House, Albert Bridge House and Arkwright House - were damaged when the bomb exploded behind Kendal's, a House of Fraser department store.

Eighty-five minutes later the second bomb went off in Cateaton Street between the cathedral and Market Place.

It smashed the face of the cathedral clock and shattered Victorian stained glass windows in the building.

Manchester Cathedral was providing refuge for hundreds of people moved out of Deansgate.

A year ago, IRA firebombs exploded in Manchester's Arndale Centre.

In Context

The IRA admitted the bombing the next day.

Both 2lb bombs injured 64 people in total and caused damage and business losses estimated to total £10m.

It formed part of the biggest IRA campaign on the British mainland since the 1970s, with a series of bombs planted across the capital.

Four years later Manchester was targeted again by the IRA.

One million square feet of shopping space was wiped out when a 3,300lb bomb exploded on 15 June 1996.

The device injured more than 200 people and caused damage estimated at up to £700m.

It took three-and-a-half years to redesign and rebuild the city centre at a cost of £1.2bn.

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