How Did The Bee Become The Symbol Of Manchester?

How Did The Bee Become The Symbol Of Manchester?

For people visiting the beautiful, ever-bustling city of Manchester, it can be hard to miss the ever-present bee appearing on signs, art and even bollards all along the city centre.

In 2018 there were even 50 giant bee statues littered across the city centre, there are murals and art all over the Northern Quarter and throughout the rest of the city centre, and it is a popular design for bracelets, pendants, earrings and sterling silver charms.

However, the reason why Manchester adopted the bee as a symbol and reflection of the city’s ethos during a period when the North West were at the centre of a worldwide industrial revolution.

In 1838, Manchester became a borough and received an official coat of arms in 1842. Alongside the Antelope and the Lion surrounding the shield, there sat a globe with seven bees on it, with a motto that translates to “by council and work”.

The bee has for centuries been a symbol of working together for a greater goal, so the globe represented the hard work of the Mancunian people and how the fruits of their labour were seen across the world.

Eventually, Manchester would become the first industrial city that pioneered mass production. As a result, factories were buzzing with so much activity that they attracted the nickname “beehives”.

Manchester, from the birth of the cotton industry to the development of the co-operative and collectivist ideas, was built by the people and the people are what makes it special and what makes it thrive.

This is why so many people to this day proudly wear bee jewellery as a representation that they are a part of something huge and truly special.