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Why You See a Bee All Over Manchester

Why You See a Bee All Over Manchester

Bees that seem to be everywhere in Manchester – from street signs to buildings and even clothing, their presence is hard to miss. So, what’s the significance of these bees and why is it all over the city?

The Manchester Bee holds profound historical and cultural significance in this vibrant city. Rooted in the Industrial Revolution, it has become an emblem of Manchester’s industrious spirit and resilience. 

So, why does the Manchester Bee continue to capture the hearts of Mancunians? Join us as we unravel its captivating tale, delving into the deep connection between the city and its beloved symbol. 

What is the origin of the Manchester Bee?

What is the origin of the Manchester Bee's Homepage
From Wikimedia 

The Manchester Bee’s origin can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century when Manchester was a thriving centre of textile production and manufacturing.

The bee itself is a symbol of community, unity, and cooperation, and it holds deep cultural significance in Manchester. The bee used in the Manchester Bee symbol is specifically the worker bee, also known as the European honey bee (Apis mellifera). 

This bee species is known for its industriousness and is often associated with productivity and collective effort. It represents the idea of Mancunians coming together and working towards a common goal.

The connection between the Manchester Bee and socialism can be traced back to the 19th century. During the Industrial Revolution, Manchester played a pivotal role in the growth of the labour movement and the rise of socialism. 

The city became a hub for workers’ rights and the fight against exploitation, and the bee came to symbolise the collective strength and resilience of the working class.

What is the origin of the Manchester Bee
Image from Geograph

In terms of design origins, the bee symbol can be traced back to the 19th century as well. Manchester’s coat of arms features a globe with seven bees surrounding it, representing the seven ancient parishes of Manchester. 

This coat of arms was granted to the city in 1842, and it prominently displayed the bee as a symbol of Manchester’s heritage and industry.

The modern design of the Manchester Bee, often seen in various forms such as tattoos, jewellery, and artwork, emerged in the early 2000s. It gained significant popularity and visibility following the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017. 

The bee symbol became a unifying emblem of solidarity and resilience in the face of tragedy, representing the city’s spirit and determination to stand together in the aftermath of the attack.

Where would one usually spot the Manchester Bee?

The Manchester Bee can be spotted across the city and beyond, with its stylized image imprinted on a wide variety of items. Here’s where you can usually find this charming symbol:

Public Buildings

Public Buildings' Homepage
From Wikimedia

The most formal use of the bee can be seen on public buildings. The Manchester Town Hall, built in the 19th century, proudly showcases bees in the mosaic flooring, and in the golden crests on the exterior walls. Another prominent building featuring the bee is the Manchester Central Library.

Street Art and Sculptures

The bee is a favoured muse for local artists. Bee murals can be spotted in several parts of the city including Ancoats, Northern Quarter, and Hulme. 

The ‘Bee in the City’ event saw numerous bee sculptures being placed throughout the city, adding a playful touch to various corners of Manchester.

Urban Infrastructure

From lamp posts to bollards and trash bins, the bee symbol is imprinted on many urban fixtures around the city. These omnipresent bees add a dash of local flavour to the city’s infrastructure.

Local Businesses

Many local businesses have adopted the bee symbol in their branding. You’ll spot it on product packaging, store signs, and company logos, especially companies like Co-op that have deep roots in the city.


Tattoos' Homepage
From Flickr

Following the tragic Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, thousands of Mancunians and other supporters got tattoos of the bee, standing in solidarity with the victims. These tattoos serve as a permanent reminder of the city’s resilience and unity.

Clothing and Accessories

Fashion is another domain where the bee has left its mark. From clothing to jewellery, the bee symbol can be found adorning various fashion items. Local sports fans often sport bee-emblazoned jerseys, scarves, and hats.


Manchester’s vibrant music scene has also embraced the bee. Local bands, most notably Oasis, have incorporated bee symbols in their album covers and even on their instruments.

Public Transportation

Public Transportation's Homepage
From  Flickr

In an effort to bring more of the Manchester spirit into everyday life, the city’s Metrolink tram system and some buses have also adopted the bee as part of their branding. So, don’t be surprised if your daily commute includes a friendly buzz!

As you can see, the Manchester Bee is truly everywhere. It’s not just a symbol; it’s a way of life, echoing the city’s history, spirit, and unyielding pride.

What does the bee tattoo mean in Manchester?

The bee tattoo in Manchester holds deep meaning and significance, especially in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack on May 22, 2017. The attack, which resulted in the loss of 22 lives and left many others injured. 

In the aftermath of this tragedy, the bee tattoo emerged as a powerful symbol of unity, strength, and remembrance. The bee tattoo serves as a permanent tribute to those affected by the attack, including the victims, their families, and the city as a whole. 

The bee tattoo often features the worker bee, which is the specific bee species associated with Manchester. It symbolises the resilience and solidarity of the people of Manchester, reflecting their determination to stand together and overcome adversity.

By getting the bee tattooed, individuals demonstrate their connection to Manchester, their support for the community, and their commitment to keeping the memory of the victims alive.

As time has passed since the attack, the bee tattoo has gained significant popularity and continues to hold its meaning and acts as a reminder of the resilience and unity that emerged from the tragedy. 

What does the bee tattoo mean in Manchester's Homepage
From Flickr.

Why is the Manchester Bee often depicted with seven stripes?

What does the bee tattoo mean in Manchester
From Flickr.

You see, the Manchester Bee is all about representing the city’s local authorities, specifically the seven that make up Greater Manchester. 

We’re talking about Manchester City Council, Salford City Council, Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council, Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council. 

But wait, there’s more! After the devastating Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, the bee took on an even deeper meaning. It became a symbol of resilience and unity in the face of tragedy. 

It was a way for the people of Manchester to come together, support each other, and honour the lives lost.

So, those seven stripes on the Manchester Bee? They’re like a visual high-five to the seven local authorities that form Greater Manchester. It’s a reminder that when these guys join forces, they can accomplish amazing things. 

It’s all about unity, collaboration, and that unique Mancunian spirit.

What is “Bee in the City”?

What is “Bee in the City” Homepage
From Geograph.

Bee in the City was a public art project that brought hundreds of vibrant and eye-catching bee sculptures to the streets of Manchester. 

These larger-than-life bees, each one uniquely designed and decorated by talented artists, turned the city into a vibrant open-air gallery.

The project aimed to celebrate the city’s creativity, community spirit, and resilience. It was a nod to Manchester’s industrious past, paying tribute to its hard working people. 

And let me tell you, the bees did their job perfectly! They created a real buzz (pun intended) and brought people together, sparking conversations and inspiring a sense of pride in the city.

Families, tourists, and locals alike embarked on their own bee-hunting adventures, seeking out as many of these marvellous sculptures as possible. 

What is “Bee in the City”
From Geograph.

People would take selfies with the bees, strike poses, and marvel at the incredible talent of the artists who brought them to life. But here’s the best part: Bee in the City wasn’t just about displaying these stunning bees on the streets. It had a deeper purpose. 

After capturing everyone’s hearts and spreading joy throughout the city, the bee sculptures were auctioned off to raise funds for charitable causes. It was a beautiful way to give back to the community and make a real difference.

The Bee in the City project left an indelible mark on Manchester. It showcased the city’s artistic flair, its ability to come together in times of adversity, and its commitment to making a positive impact. 

The bees may have fluttered away, but their memory lingers on, reminding us of the power of art, community, and the vibrant spirit of Manchester.

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