IWM North – Manchester

IWM stands for Imperial war museum, founded in 1917 to record the impact of war on individual people.

IWM North brings a unique power to these stories, a power woven into the very architecture of the museum itself.  Unlike any of the other IWM’s across the UK, This one in Manchester is purpose built to set the scene for the stories within.

In the early 1990’s, IWM began looking for a location outside of London to build a new showcase for its unrivaled collections. Out of 71 locations identified, the area known as Trafford Park in Manchester was selected.

It was here where the dock workers unloaded vital supplies during both the first and second world wars. The North West was heavily populated with factories that churned out millions of tons of munitions, tanks, engines and radar systems. That’s why the Luftwaffe conducted many deadly bombing raids second to only London.

In 1997 the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, who had designed the Jewish museum in Berlin (1989) had won the design and IWM North was born.

The museum boasts a rich history of conflict related items but from a people perspective. If you are expecting to see Missiles, Tanks, Guns, then you might be disappointed.
However if you wish to see items such as a Fire watchers glasses, a small rubber bullet used to disperse rioters in Northern Ireland, or a stack of suitcase from refugees fleeing worn torn Europe in 1939 then this museum will provide the emotion and experience to relive these torrid times.

Every hour a full wall to wall video is shown, displaying the effects of war has on all ages. IWM North is fantastic and a real eye opener. A must see.

Key Objects
Twin Towers metal section

JRR Tolkien’s Pistol

Set of Ira most wanted playing cards

Cold War silo, the threat that never came (1980’s Europe)

Perhaps the biggest highlight spending 15 minutes talking to a 90 year old man who was a bomb target man in a Lancaster during WW2.