This seemingly ordinary red post box is a unlikely symbol of Manchester’s resilience. It’s located right in the centre of Manchester’s main shopping area on Corporation Street (next to Selfridges and Marks and Spencer).
The story behind the post box: on 15th June 1996, an IRA bomb exploded in the centre of Manchester, just metres away from this location. This typical red post box was one of the few structures in the surround area left standing. It survived the blast almost unscathed.
The 1500kg bomb injured 200 people, destroyed a shopping centre and devastated a large section of central Manchester. Although the IRA had sent warnings around an hour and half before the bomb went off and more than 75,000 people were evacuated from the area, the bomb squad couldn’t defuse it in time. It was the biggest bomb detonated in the UK since the Second World War.
In the aftermath of the bomb, the post box was removed while the surrounding area was rebuilt. It was returned to its original post on Corporation Street with a plaque to commemorate the event on November 22nd 1999.
It’s a small but important piece of Manchester’s history that I like to take a look at every now and then.