Hiroshima ginkgo tree seeds take root in Manchester

Ginkgo seedlings Image copyright Manchester city council
Image caption The ginkgo seedlings, which were taken from trees near the Hiroshima bomb site, have been grown in Manchester

Seeds from trees which survived the World War Two bombing of Hiroshima have taken root in Manchester to celebrate its anniversary of becoming the UK's first nuclear-free city.

Six ginkgo trees survived the atomic blast which killed about 100,000 people in the Japanese city on 6 August 1945.

Manchester was declared a nuclear-free zone on 5 November 1980.

It is the first UK city to be given seeds, which it received in recognition of its global anti-nuclear role.

Manchester is a vice president city of Mayors for Peace, a global programme founded by the mayor of Hiroshima, Takeshi Araki, in 1982.

The six ginkgo trees, which still grow about a mile (1.6km) from the bomb site, suffered extreme damage in the blast.

However, new buds soon emerged from the burnt trunks, leading to the ginkgo becoming a symbol of hope in Japan.

The atomic bombing of Japan

Image copyright Getty Images
  • On 6 August 1945, an American B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima. In a split second, 100,000 people ceased to exist
  • Three days later, another B-29 dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 40,000
  • Japan surrendered on 15 August

Source: BBC History - Nuclear Power: The End of the War Against Japan

The Lord Mayor of Manchester Sue Cooley said the seedlings' history made them "truly breathtaking".

"They serve as a pertinent symbol of hope and a reminder that we stand proud, with our fellow Mayors for Peace cities, in the call for nuclear disarmament."

The seedlings have been grown at Hulme Community Garden Centre. A decision on where they will be planted is still to be made.

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