It was on June 15th back in 1996 when the UK mainland's biggest bomb since World War II exploded outside a Manchester shopping centre. The attack was carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army and even though the explosion ripped the heart out of the city, no-one was killed. In fact, the blast is now credited by some as kick-starting the city's regeneration. The device was a 1,500-kilogram (3,300 lb) bomb planted in a lorry, which parked near the Marks and Spencer store on Corporation Street in the heart of the city at 9:20 am.
CCTV cameras recorded two men in hooded jackets getting out and walking away from the lorry, and a traffic warden even placed a parking ticket on the vehicle's windscreen a short time later. Just before 10 am a telephone warning was issued. The call was received by Gary Hall, a security guard at ITV's Granada studios. The caller said he had planted a bomb that would explode an hour later.
The Police began evacuating around 80,000 people from the city centre, while attempts were made to find the bomb. Amid the chaos the lorry was spotted with suspicious wires running from the dashboard, but it was too late. Bomb disposal officers attempted to defuse the explosive with a remote-controlled robot but failed. At 11:17 am the 3,300lb device exploded. Some 220 people were injured, and several were traumatised by the massive blast but amazingly no-one was killed.