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Feb 21 2017

The Manchester Bee


The bumble bee that can be seen on bollards, litter bins and planters is well known as being the symbol for Manchester. Here’s a little snippet of history as to why that is…

In fact it goes right back to the 19th Century. In 1842, towards the end of the Industrial Revolution, seven bees were incorporated into the Coat of Arms for Manchester. Manchester was populated by hard-working citizens who worked away in mills to produce the goods which created the city’s wealth. The workers in the textile mills were compared to bees in their hives – very industrious, great team workers who persevere. This is where the term ‘busy bee’ comes from! Some owners even named their mills ‘Beehive Mills’. There is still a former Beehive Mill in Ancoats, which currently houses Sankeys night club.

Once you discover that the Bee is the city’s image, it’s hard to miss it wherever you go! It features everywhere from elaborate clocks to dustbins and bollards. Historic buildings proudly display their bees. A few places where you might not have noticed it, and to keep an eye out on your next travels around the city, are:

- On the clock face of the Palace Hotel on Oxford Road

- The Town Hall’s mosaic tiled floor in the hallway landing

- Manchester Metropolitan University Crest – there are three bees on the crest

Would you believe it that the Manchester Bee even has its own dedicated website?!

If you visit you’ll find all sorts relating to it. There are hidden gems of bumble bee graffiti around the city along with people who have tattoos with the iconic symbol. Additionally, the bee has been commemorated in the honey flavours of the “Forever Manchester ‘B’ Beer”.

So now you know the essence behind the buzz of the Manchester Bee, why not have a search about town for the many bees on bollards and bins and some of the more obscure ones too?

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