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An archivist at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery has uncovered original images showing the aftermath of a 1970s terrorist bomb blast. The gallery is now asking members of the public if they have memories of the bombing, which tore out their front window.

Dating from 4 January 1974, the evocative images show Ikon’s then-director Simon Chapman clearing up shards of broken glass whilst nervously smoking a cigarette. At the time Ikon was housed in a shop unit in the West Court of the Birmingham Shopping Centre (now the Pallasades), adjacent to an Army and Navy recruitment office - almost certainly the intended target for the bomb.

Archivist Jane Morrow is now asking the public for any memories they have of the bombing to help inform an oral history project into the period.

She said: “We’re looking for stories from the people of Birmingham who remember Ikon during the 1970s, from stand-out exhibitions to incidents such as the bombing. We have plenty of official records – what I’d love to hear now are your stories and reminiscences.”

The memories will form part of an archive collection to be presented alongside Ikon’s next exhibition, "This could happen to you: Ikon in the 1970s". A retrospective of the gallery’s programme from 1970-1978, it will feature the work of 32 artists including Birmingham-born John Walker, who represented Britain at the 1972 Venice Biennale, and Ian Emes, an animator who went on to forge a brilliant career visualising the music of Pink Floyd.

The exhibition will take place at Ikon’s Brindleyplace galleries from 21 July – 5 September, with a further exhibition of photographs by Harold E. Edgerton at The Pallasades Shopping Centre, near to Ikon’s former home.

Anyone with any memories of the bombing or Ikon in the 1970s should contact Jane Morrow on 0121 248 0708 or email

Ikon Gallery 1974

Ikon director Simon Chapman assessing the aftermath of the 4 January 1974 bombing, West Court Shopping Centre, Birmingham.

Source: Ikon archive

Ikon Gallery 1974

The front window of Ikon Gallery following the 4 January 1974 bombing.

Source: Ikon archive



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