A Journey of Reconciliation

Commissioned as part of Warrington Borough Council’s and The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation’s commemorative events to mark the 20th anniversary of the IRA bombing of Warrington in 2013, Culture Warrington produced the exhibition ‘In Commemoration and Celebration: A Journey of Reconciliation’, which was shown at Pyramid in 2013.

Now to mark the 30th anniversary of the bombing we have collected together material from this exhibition, including the film and archival material.



Background to the exhibition

2013 was the 20th anniversary of two separate bomb attacks carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) that took place during early 1993 in Warrington. The first attack happened on 26 February, when a bomb exploded at a gas storage facility. This first explosion caused extensive damage, but no injuries. While fleeing the scene, the bombers shot and injured a police officer and two of the bombers were caught following a high-speed car chase. The second attack happened on 20 March, when two smaller bombs exploded in litter bins outside shops and businesses on Bridge Street. Two children (Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball) were killed and a total of 56 people were injured.

While commemorative events had taken place regularly since the bomb attacks, there was a sense from the Parry family, religious leaders and the council that while the annual memorial on Bridge Street should continue to happen, 20 years was a good point to take stock and create an exhibition that dealt with the traumatic events of 1993 but also focussed on the positive achievements of the reconciliation work that had taken place. Rather than continually revisiting it every time there was an anniversary, the 2013 exhibition was intended to be the last one. Hence why we are reproducing content from it here as opposed to creating a brand-new exhibition.

The events of March 1993 are etched on the memory of Warrington and produced an instant and profound wave not only of sympathy and outrage, but also of determination. In all the long and agonising history of the Northern Irish ‘troubles’, few terrorist deeds met with such universal condemnation, and the memorial service to the victims, attended by the Duke of Edinburgh and President Mary Robinson of Ireland, symbolised the hopes that from the suffering could come something more positive.

In retrospect, the Warrington bombing may perhaps be seen as a turning point, when the desire for peace and a political solution began to influence not only the ordinary people of Ulster but also politicians and even those organisations involved in violence over the decades. Today the memorial to those who died or were injured on 20 March 1993 is not only the inspirational, moving and much-acclaimed sculpture and water feature, the River of Life, which snakes down the top of Bridge Street but also, indirectly, the relative calm which, we may hope, prevails in Ireland.

-Alan Crosby, A History of Warrington

The film

This is the film that was shown as part of the exhibition at Pyramid in 2013. The film was commissioned by Culture Warrington and created by Warrington-based VFX company Sculpting With Light.

Part One: The Bombings and the Aftermath
26 February 1993.
Three devices explode at the gas storage facility in Longford, causing extensive damage.
A police officer, PC Mark Toker, is shot and injured after stopping a van connected to the attacks, and a car is hijacked.
« of 48 »

Part Two: Dialogue and Reconciliation

The Anglo Irish Deal
« of 13 »

Part Three: Building bridges with art, music and sport

« of 33 »

Part Four: Hope for a Lasting Peace

« of 42 »

Pictures of an exhibition

Concept sketch for the exhibition by Derek Dick / Roger Jeffery
« of 8 »



Timeline of events 1993 – 2013 [pdf file]



The exhibition was commissioned by Warrington Borough Council and produced by Culture Warrington.

We would like to thank the following groups and individuals for their help:

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation For Peace, Sculpting With Light, The Rev. Stephen Kingsnorth, Cllr. Mike Hannon, Wendy Parry, Warrington Male Voice Choir, Gareth Dunning, Gary Skentelbery, George Thornton, Janice Hayes, Stephen Broadbent, Warrington Guardian, Warrington Worldwide, John Hopkins Photography, BBC.