A nuclear free city remembers Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Tucked away in Manchester is a commemoration to the victims of atomic bombs

6 August 1985 A plaque was unveiled in Manchester (behind the People's History Museum) dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski forty years earlier - and to those continuing to work for a nuclear free world. The plaque was rededicated following the reopening of the museum in 2010.

The statue 'Doves of Peace' by Michael Lyons stands nearby, commissioned by Manchester City Council, after a competition for a 'Sculpture for Peace' in 1985.

To put the plaque and sculpture in context, in 1980 Manchester was declared a ‘nuclear free city’ with the city council expressing that the Government should ‘refrain from the manufacture or position of any nuclear weapons of any kind within the boundaries of our city’. Manchester urged other local authorities to do the same.

With growing threat of nuclear war, the national Government had produced a booklet ‘Protect and Survive’ including advice on how to build a shelter under the stairs at home. Local leaders viewed this as a dangerous joke downplaying the real horrors of a nuclear attack. The then Greater Manchester County Council’s pamphlet took a more blunt approach

‘As long as Britain remains a major nuclear target, plans to help people in Greater Manchester survive a nuclear war are unrealistic… if there were a full-scale nuclear attack on Britain for most people in Greater Manchester the chances of surviving longer than a few days or weeks would be very small. Anyone who did survive might wish they had died instead.'

Towns and cities across the world joined Manchester as nuclear free zones, and the city hosted the first international conference for these areas. The city joined ‘Mayors for Peace’ set up by the Mayor of Hiroshima, and continues in this role to promote a nuclear free world.

The new Peace Gardens at Lincoln Square incorporate gingko trees derived from an original tree in Hiroshima which survived the atomic bombing in 1945.

Previous Post Next Post