Manchester is currently being brightened up more than a hundred bee sculptures. This is all part of a brilliant campaign by Manchester Council and Wild in Art, Bee in the City, and runs from 23 July – 23 September 2018. The bees have all been designed by different artists to showcase the many diverse and marvellous elements that make up the city of Manchester, both old and new.
If you fancy going on a bee hunt, you can track your progress using either a paper map (available at various Bee in the City hubs) or online by downloading the app. The sculptures will be auctioned off in October to raise funds for the We Love MCR charity. Why bees? you may ask. Well, the humble worker bee has been a symbol of Manchester since it was featured in cities coat of arms way back in 1842.
It’s a nod to the industrial heritage and the hives of workers who grafted in our mills and factories. Since the despicable terrorist attack at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017, which claimed 22 lives and left hundreds of others changed forever, it’s also become a symbol of unity and defiance in the modern day.
Last Sunday, we got up early (lol to ‘early’. We’d been taking full advantage of our weekend and adopted a new 9am alarm as opposed to the usual 6am one. Bloody bliss I tell you) and, armed with the official bee trail map, located our very first bee in the Cathedral Gardens.
Being a tourist in our own city was rather fun and served as an inexpensive day out. We had no time restraints and wandered through the Northern Quarter, Arndale, Spinningfields, Castlefield, Albert Square, St Annes Square, St Peters Square (all of the squares basically), Piccadilly and more. We sometimes forget to actually look around and breathe in all the wonderful things about a place that we see so often, don’t we?
We ended up staying in the city for more than five hours, walked almost nine miles and managed to find (a rather underwhelming) 28 big bees and 9 small ones. I should point out here that this was entirely our own fault as we forgot to use the map after about 20 minutes and went rogue, simply wandering around our favourite parts of central Manchester and taking it as a bonus if we spotted a bee or two along the way.
Seeing people of all ages excitedly buzzing (sorry) around our beloved city with maps was a superb sight and I certainly felt a little pang of pride. Have you done the Manchester Bee Trail yet?