Bomb the Base

Churn, but good churn…

An archivist at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery has uncovered these images showing the aftermath of a 1970s terrorist bomb blast. Dating from 4 January 1974, the images show Ikon’s then-director Simon Chapman clearing up shards of broken glass whilst nervously smoking a cigarette. At this 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 – the likely intended target for the bomb.

Jane Morrow, Ikon Gallery’s Archivist, is asking the public for any memories they have of the bombing to help inform an oral history project into the period : “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.” Contact Jane Morrow on 0121 248 0708 or email

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.

All at Ikon gallery 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.

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