Today’s atrocity is not the first Manchester terror attack – with a bomb in 1996 razing the heart of its shopping district to the ground in one colossal blast.
The city’s centre was devastated in June 1996 after the Provisional IRA detonated the biggest bomb since the Second World War on Corporation Street.
A phoned warning meant that the 3,300 lbs of homemade explosives in a lorry did not kill anyone – but more than 200 people were injured, including some a quarter of a mile away hit by flying glass.
The Arndale Centre bore the brunt of the bombing, which caused more than £500 million in damage to shops and commercial premises.
From the debris, Manchester rose defiantly, as tens of thousands of new square metres of retail space was created, buildings restored and hundreds of businesses reopened.
Marks & Spencer, outside which the lorry bomb was stationed, expanded its site to make it the
largest branch in the world.
A red postbox became the poignant symbol of the attack, having remained standing in the midst of the wreckage.
A brass plaque subsequently installed on the postbox said: ‘This postbox remained standing almost undamaged on June 15th 1996 when this area was devastated by a bomb.’