After the Manchester attack in May 2017 over 10,000 objects were left by members of the public in spontaneous memorials that sprang up in St. Ann’s Square and other sites in the city.

In the year that followed different organisations in the city came together to conserve, preserve and document the thousands of objects.

This website provides an account of how those objects have been cared for and plans for the future to create a public-facing digital archive.

This project is led by the Manchester Art Gallery, in collaboration with Archives+ and the University of Manchester. The project has been supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The National Archives.

The Archive

This project (supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and The National Archives) aims to support the digitisation, development and interpretation of more than 10,000 items that were left in the spontaneous memorials in St Ann’s Square and elsewhere in Manchester after the Arena attack on 22nd May 2017.

These tangible items and the stories and testimonies attached to them constitute an ongoing, dynamic and shifting “heritage of memory” of the attack and people’s individual and collective response to it.

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Since June 2017 the work done by different organisations to care for the objects collected from spontaneous memorials around the city has been documented in film, photography and oral testimonies of those involved.

The media we have created follow the journeys of more than 10,000 tributes from sites around Manchester and beyond.

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When was the Manchester Arena attack?

On 22 May 2017 a homemade bomb was detonated as people were leaving the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. Twenty-two people were killed and hundreds were injured.

What were the spontaneous memorials?

Within hours of the attack the people of Manchester began to show their respects for the dead and injured by leaving flowers, personal mementos, candles, balloons and written tributes in various locations around the city.

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