Manchester Christmas Blitz Remembered at Imperial War Museum North for Christmas 2005

| 21 December 2005
shows a stained glass window that has a motif of flames within it

Margaret Traherne was commissioned to glaze the East window of Manchester Cathedral in the 1950s. The Fire Window is the result. © IWM.

The Manchester Blitz of Christmas 1940 is marked in Imperial War Museum North's new Big Picture Show - 'The War at Home' - which has opened at the Museum in time for Christmas this year.

The award-winning Big Picture is the Museum's innovative method of showing photography and art backed up with sound archive and music in a 10-15 minute themed audio-visual presentation.

The Big Picture mainly uses photography and sound from the Imperial War Museum's own collections, but has also utilised local archives including those of Manchester Cathedral. As part of the show, the images of the Cathedral's Fire Window fill the Main Exhibition Space at the Museum, making a spectacular 360 degree panorama.

In 1936 a chapel at Manchester Cathedral was dedicated to the Manchester Regiment and donations from the public flooded in to furnish the chapel. Only 4 years later, just 2 days before Christmas in 1940, Manchester was reeling from the aerial bombardment of the Luftwaffe and a German landmine exploded at the north east corner of the Cathedral, razing the Regiment's Chapel to the ground. All of the Cathedral's windows were blown out. The damage done was second in extremity only to Coventry Cathedral in the UK.

'The War at Home' Big Picture Show explores the experiences of those on the Home Front during the Second World War.

It covers themes such as the separation of families through enlistment and evacuation; women at work; rationing and digging for victory; as well as the Blitz and air raids experienced particularly in the cities of the North of England. It centres on the strength of the human spirit in wartime, and how war has shaped lives across the region.

This new Big Picture Show is one of three which are shown hourly every day at the Museum. The other two cover the themes of 'Children and War' and 'Weapons of War'. The Show has been supported by the Granada Foundation and Big Picture Patrons.

The Big Picture Shows run every hour on the hour from 11am as follows:
Children and War - 11.00, 2.00, 5.00 (5.00 showing - 1 March onwards)
The War at Home - 12.00, 3.00 (NEW SHOW)
Weapons of War - 1.00, 4.00

Imperial War Museum North is open 7 days a week from 10am - 6pm (Nov to Feb 10am - 5pm) with free admission - nb. closed 24/25/26 December 2005.

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