Photographer John Angerson has worked alongside historian Professor Ian McBride to compile a list of historic European events since 1900 where something extraordinary and transformative has occurred. These contemporary photographs have been made in the precise location and on the same day that the actual events took place. Archive images and artefacts from this period in history have been carefully researched to connect the past with the present. Even where the setting is seemingly unchanged - like the bridge in Sarajevo or the familiar doors and bricks of Downing Street - a different sort of contemplation is invited - bathos yields to pathos as the world goes about its insouciant business. The project titled ‘On This Day’ acts as a memorial that urges us to respect the power of now. These events were both fleeting and eternal - over in an instant but whose consequences would change Europe forever.
image: Sheffield, England. Peter Sutcliffe dubbed by the media as the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ was finally arrested by the Police in Melbourne Avenue, Broomhill, Sheffield. He was convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others. Archive image: Police handout photographs of the thirteen victims killed by Peter Sutcliffe. Picture courtesy: West Yorkshire Police.
January 19th 1915.
Great Yarmouth, England. Imperial Navy Zeppelin airships took off from Fuhlsbvottel, Germany. Zeppelin L3 crossed the coast of East Anglia and then curved South East towards Great Yarmouth. L3 then dropped its bombs onto the St Peter’s Plain area of Great Yarmouth killing shoemaker Samuel Alfred Smith and spinster Martha Taylor. They became the first British civilians to be killed by aerial bombardment in World War One.
Archive image: Unexploded ordnance dropped from Zeppelin airship. Picture courtesy: Norfolk County Council.
20th January 1942.
Wannsee, Berlin, Germany. The Wannsee Conference was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. The purpose of the conference was to inform administrative leaders of Departments responsible for various policies relating to Jews that Reinhard Heydrich had been appointed as the chief executor of the “Final solution to the Jewish question”.
Archive image: Nazi Officer Reinhard Heydrich. He was an SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei and also chief of the Reich Main Security Office. Photograph courtesy: German Federal Archive.
27th January 1945.
Auschwitz II‚ Birkenau concentration camp. An estimated 1.3 million people were sent to the camp, of which at least 1.1 million died. Around 90% of those were Jews; approximately one in six Jews killed in the Holocaust died at the camps. More people died in Auschwitz than the British and American losses of World War Two combined. The day is now commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Chamberlain Street, Derry, Ireland. Bloody Sunday, sometimes called the Bogside Massacre. British soldiers shot 28 unarmed civilians during a peaceful protest march against internment. Fourteen people died: thirteen were killed outright while the death of another man four months later was attributed to his injuries. Many of the victims were shot while fleeing from the soldiers and some were shot while trying to help the wounded. Chamberlain Street was the site where Jackie Duddy (17) and Patrick Doherty (31) were shot. Archive image: Father Edward Daly’s blood-soaked handkerchief became the iconic image of the Bloody Sunday massacre. Photograph courtesy: Museum of Free Derry.
February 3rd 1993.
Maastricht, The Netherlands. The Maastricht Treaty was signed by twelve members states of the European Community at the Government buildings of the Limburg province, Maastricht, Netherlands. It led to the creation of the single European currency, the euro and changed the official denomination of the EEC, henceforth, it was known as the European Union.
Archive image: Souvenir euro banknote issued for the Moneyfair conference in Maastricht 2018 printed by the official Euro banknote printing company. Photograph courtesy: Artist’s personal collection.
28th Febuary 1953.
Cambridge, England. Room 103 at the Austin Wing, Cavendish Laboratory. Cambridge University. The actual room in which James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the double helix structure of DNA.
Archive image: Photo 51 a X-ray diffraction image of crystallized DNA taken by Raymond Gosling working as a PhD student under the supervision of Rosalind Franklin. It was critical evidence in identifying the structure of DNA. Photograph courtesy: King’s College London.UK.
11th March 2004.
Atocha Station, Madrid, Spain. At 07:34hrs ten explosions occurred aboard four commuter trains. The bombings constituted the deadliest terrorist attack carried out in the history of both Spain and the European Union killed 192 people and injured more than 1,800.There was strong evidence, including the type of explosives used, that al Qaeda-inspired militants were behind the attacks, but a decade on, there are those in Spain who still refuse to rule out the possibility of ETA involvement.
Archive image: Six of the 29 men charged with 191 counts of murder and 1,755 counts of attempted murder in the Madrid train bombings, from left to right at the top: Emilio Suarez Trashorras, Jamal Zougam and Rabei Osman. From left to right at the bottom, Hasan al Haski, Youssef Belhadj and Abdelmajid Bouchar. Photograph courtesy: CNP handout.
27th March 1981.
Gdansk shipyards, Poland. The Trade Union Solidarity began a nationwide strike in protest against the police beating several union activists (including Jan Rulewski) in Bydgoszcz. The Union then held a four-hour national warning strike. The whole country was brought to a standstill, demonstrating the enormous influence of Solidarity.
Archive image: Envelope and postage stamp of Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa. Photograph courtesy: Artist’s personal collection.
April 11th 1911.
Cobh, Ireland. RMS Titanic was anchored off Roches Point for just two hours. A total of 123 passengers embarked at Queenstown (now called Cobh) three travelled first class, seven in second class while the remainder travelled in steerage (third class). After boarding the tenders at the White Star Pier they proceeded to the Deepwater Quay (where Cobh Heritage Centre is now located) to load mail bags from the mail train. A total of 1,308 passengers were on board as they left Queenstown together with 898 crew members making a total of 2,206 people on board as she embarked on her final fateful journey.
Archive image: RMS Titanic passenger list of British passengers that embarked at Southampton for New York. Photograph courtesy: Michael W. Pocock.
April 24th 1916.
O'Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland. The Easter Uprising took place in April 1916 in Dublin and is one of the pivotal events in modern Irish history. At the end of the Easter uprising,15 men identified as leaders were executed at Kilmainham Jail. To some, these men were traitors, to others they became heroes. About 1,200 members of the Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army mustered at several locations in central Dublin. The General Post office in O''Connell Street would be the rebels' headquarters for most of the Rising.
Archive image: The starting handle of Michael Joseph O'Rahilly's De Dion-Bouton motorcar, which he drove to O'Connell Street on Easter Monday. The car was used as a barricade outside the General Post Office. Photograph courtesy: National Museum of Ireland.
3rd May 1979.
Downing Street, London, England. The United Kingdom general election of 1979 was held to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan with a parliamentary majority of 44 seats.
Archive image: Christmas card featuring a photo of the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with her husband Denis outside 10 Downing Street. December 1980. Photograph courtesy: John Jochimsen/COI
4th June 1913.
Tattenham Corner, Epsom Racecourse, Surrey. Emily Wilding Davison was a militant activist who fought for women’s suffrage in Britain. She was jailed on nine occasions and force-fed 49 times. She is best known for stepping in front of King George V’s horse Anmer at the Epsom Derby on 4th June 1913, sustaining injuries that resulted in her death four days later.
Archive image: Emily Wilding Davison memorial leaflet. Photograph courtesy: People’s History Museum Manchester.
6th June 1944.
Arromanches-les-Bains, Normandy, France. D- Day (operation Overlord). More than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion.
Archive image: German army signal sent at 04:15 hrs 6th June 1944. Translated from German; “Tracked down thousands of ships. They Come”. Photograph courtesy: Artist’s personal collection.
June 18th 1984.
Sheffield, England. The Battle of Orgreave was a violent confrontation between police and pickets at a British Steel Corporation (BSC) coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire. It was a pivotal event in the 1984–85 UK miners’ strike, and one of the most violent clashes in British industrial history. Historians have described the confrontation as “almost medieval in its choreography at various stages a siege, a battle, a chase, a rout”.
Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina. The Latin Bridge in Sarajevo, the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria who was mortally wounded by Gavrilo Princip. Which led to the start of the First World War.
Archive image: Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his wife Sophie lying in state. Photograph courtesy: IWM.
July 1st 1916.
Delville Wood, Longueval, France. The Battle of the Somme remains one of the bloodiest battles in history having caused approximately 57,000 casualties for the British Army in the first day alone. It was blamed on the inexperience and patchy training of the British soldiers. After four months of fighting about 420,000 soldiers of British and Commonwealth forces died, wounded or went missing. In four months an area of 20 miles wide and 6 miles long was taken from German possession.
Edgware Road, London, England. On the morning of Thursday, 7 July 2005, four Islamist extremists separately detonated three bombs in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city. The bomb, on a westbound Circle Line train heading towards Paddington, exploded in the second carriage close to the second set of double doors. It killed six people.
Archive image: London suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan relays a message before claiming the lives of six people and injuring 120 in the Edgware Road Circle Line attack. Photograph courtesy: Al Jazeera.
17th July 2003.
Harrowdown Hill, Longworth, Oxford, England. Dr. David Kelly was a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq. His body was found near his home in Oxfordshire. The Hutton enquiry concluded that Kelly had committed suicide. All the evidence related to his death, including the post-mortem report and photographs of the body, have been deemed classified for seventy years.
Archive image: Death Certificate of Dr. David Kelly. Photograph courtesy: Public Records office.
8th August 1963.
Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, England. The Great Train Robbery was the robbery of a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London on the West Coast Main Line. A human chain of robbers removed 120 sacks containing two-and-a-half-tons of money. The robbery was well organised and swift. The value of the robbery was around £30 million in today’s money.
Archive image: Metropolitan Police wanted poster of the robbers and their associates. Photograph courtesy: The Postal Museum, London.
31st August 1997.
Paris France. Diana, Princess of Wales was involved in a fatal car crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris. Her driver, Henri Paul, who was the Deputy Head of Security of the Hôtel Ritz Paris was the driver of the Mercedes Henri Paul had been off duty that evening but was called back to drive Diana and Dodi Fayed to their apartment. The car crashed at high speed only their bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived. There have been many conspiracy theories surrounding the car crash. British and French police investigations put the blame largely on Henri Paul for being affected by alcohol and prescription drugs, and driving recklessly.
Archive image: Photograph used at the inquest into the deaths. It shows Diana with Fayed in the lift at the Ritz Hotel the afternoon before they both died. Photograph courtesy: HM Corners’s Office.
21st October 1966
Aberfan, Mid Glamorgan, Wales. The Aberfan disaster was the catastrophic collapse of a National Coal Board (NCB) colliery spoil tip in the Welsh village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, UK. The tip slid down the mountain above the village at 09.15hrs, killing 116 children and 28 adults as it engulfed the local junior school and other buildings in the town. The collapse was caused by the build-up of water in the accumulated rock and shale tip, which suddenly slid downhill in the form of slurry.
Archive image: Colour slide of the village of Aberfan showing the extent of the devastated area. Photograph courtesy: National Museum Wales.
9th November 1989.
Berlin, Germany. The Bornholmer Strasse border crossing was the first breach of the Berlin wall by citizens of the DDR. Paving the way for German reunification. Archive image: Archive image: Small section of the Berlin Wall acquired by the British Military Forces. Photograph courtesy: IWM.
7th November 1917 (NS).
St. Petersburg, Russia. The Russian revolution was led by the Bolsheviks, who used their influence in the Petrograd to organise the armed forces. Bolshevik Red Guards forces under the Military Revolutionary committee began the takeover of government buildings and the Winter Palace (the seat of the Provisional government located in Petrograd, then capital of Russia), was captured.
Archive image: Taken by Viktor Bulla on the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and Sadovaya. This photograph became the visual incarnation of the Revolution, despite having been taken in July and not in October.
Note: The Julian calendar was employed in Russia at the time. 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar
December 21st 1988.
Tundergarth, Lockerbie, Scotland. Flight 103 was a regularly scheduled Pan Am transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York. N739PA, the aircraft operating the transatlantic leg of the route, was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew. The nose of flight 103 crashed in the field off the B7068 road looking north at Tundergarth, Lockerbie.
Archive image: Test loaded Samsonite suitcase containing a modified Toshiba SF16 cassette player (that contained an improvised explosive device). Photograph courtesy: Public Domain/ COPFS