Thursday 15 December 2011

December 15th, 2011 - Thursday

Location: Site of the IRA bomb of 1996
Designer: Sarah Lowe, Housewife and Mother

Location Notes: Located next to the post box between the M&S/Selfridges building and the Arndale, this spot marks the biggest IRA explosion on British soil. A most significant site for Manchester, the city responded not in grief, but in a determination not to be undone. It marked a turning point for the development of the city, prompting a massive rebuilding and regeneration of that site and those nearby.

Shrine Notes: This shrine uses the theme ‘ remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19). It is located at the site of the IRA’s 1996 Manchester bomb which was the centre of all the devastation that occurred on that day. Nowadays it is common for people to place remembrances at sites of devastation and loss, this is usually in the form of cellophane wrapped flowers tied to local objects eg a tree or lamp post. Jesus left us with Holy Communion ‘in remembrance of Me’ and this shrine juxtaposes this with the modern day remembrance of flowers. As you pass by this shrine, pause a while in the hustle and bustle of the street to remember all those affected that day in June 1996 and give thanks for the regeneration of the city centre which followed and think also of the sacrifice made by Jesus for us all and the renewed lives and hope that that has given generations of people since.

Designer Notes: I spent some time thinking carefully about this site and what it means to the people of Manchester. It struck me that this was the site of enormous devastation and loss for many people and that it is just such places which today would have flowers placed at the side of the road. I am intrigued by the fact that as Advent progresses the flowers themselves will gradually wilt and die and this contrasts with the living bread and wine of the Holy Communion - both ‘in remembrance of me’.

Feel free to write about your thoughts and experiences with this shrine, or how you've seen people using it, as a comment (see below) or tweet @sanctus1mcr.


  1. By Sunday afternoon (Dec 18th), this shrine had become detached from its tree, but some reverence for it remains as it had been carefully left under a nearby park bench rather than binned or removed like so many other outdoor shrines. It makes me wonder whether people see the attached flowers and assume it relates to an incident of some kind that requires more respect than a religious shrine or artistic installation... hmm...

  2. Sometime after Dec 22nd lunchtime this shrine finally disappeared