Manchester Celebrates 25 Years As Nuclear Free City

by Roslyn Tappenden | 23 September 2005
A postcard showing Manchester town hall and a white dove. The postcard reads: Manchester A Nuclear Free City

A postcard commemorating Manchester's nuclear free status. Image courtesy of Manchester City Library.

An exhibition at Manchester’s Central Library proudly tells the story of the city’s anti-nuclear movement, founded a quarter of a century ago.

Manchester: 25 Years of Working for a Nuclear Free Future is open until October 21 2005 and marks the anniversary of Manchester City Council’s declaration that the city should be a Nuclear Free Zone.

The pledge launched a national movement, prompting local authorities across the country to form allegiances on nuclear issues such as radioactive waste management, nuclear emergency planning and nuclear transportation.

A black and white image of a giant mushroom cloud caused by an atomic bomb

The Nagasaki mushroom cloud. Image courtesy of Manchester City Library.

Manchester councillor, Bill Risby, campaigned for the resolution in 1980, which committed the city to work for a nuclear free future.

He said: “Establishing the council’s nuclear free policy was one of the proudest moments of my life. At the time no one could have foreseen how the movement would grow."

“In 1980 the United States and the then USSR were sliding towards nuclear war in Europe. Ordinary people felt powerless to stop it. Our resolution was a declaration of hope.”

A man and a woman standing either side of a statue. The statue is of a woman holding two doves.

Two Japanese ‘Hibakusha’ - people who survived the bomb in Hiroshima - at Manchester's peace statue. Image courtesy of Manchester City Library.

He added: “In the decades that followed 4,000 towns and cities worldwide declared their support.”

The exhibition at Manchester City Library includes artefacts relating to the movement and remembers the women of Greenham Common, survivors of the Hiroshima bomb and the plight of children in Chernobyl.

Anti-nuclear artwork, posters, leaflets and other objects from the Cold War era are on display along with information about Nuclear Free Zones around the world.

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