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What's the buzz with Manchester's bees?

Written by
Becci Johnson

Elbow’s Guy Garvey claims that the Manchester Worker Bee is the only thing he would ever have tattooed on his body.

The bee is the symbol of Manchester and seven bees were incorporated in to the city’s Coat of Arms in 1842 at the end of the Industrial Revolution.

Workers in the textile mills were compared to bees in their hives and the term ‘busy bee’ remains synonymous with the ideas of industriousness, perseverance, and team work. The former Beehive Mill in Ancoats currently houses Sankeys night club.

It’s hard to cross the street in Manchester without seeing a bee; it’s on bollards, planters and litter bins.

Mark Johnson

Many of the city’s historic buildings proudly display their bees.

Look out for them at Manchester Town Hall, which also features a bee mosaic tiled floor on the Great Hall landing:

Mark Johnson

On the clock face at The Palace Hotel:

Mark Johnson

Above Links of London in St Ann’s Square

Mark Johnson

and around the hive at the old Lloyds Bank:

Mark Johnson

Manchester Art Gallery (which hides its own bee), the Cathedral, and The Printworks promote urban beekeeping from their rooftops, producing their own local honey. 

Mark Johnson

The bee is even commemorated in the honey flavours of Forever Manchester ‘B’ beer.

Next time you are out and about in Manchester, see how many bees you can spot. Just be careful not to get stung.

Find things to do in Manchester with Time Out.

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