One of the reasons the Manchester Bee is such a ubiquitous sight around the city centre is its use on street furniture, most notably on bollards and bins but also on other objects as well. Below, I’ll be detailing a number of the its different uses, from the abundant to the unique.
The Manchester Bee bollards date back all the way to 1976 and were designed by Warren Marshall, former Urban Design and Conservation Manager for Manchester City Council. The design is based on the Manchester Town Hall bee mural.
You can find these dotted all over the city centre, as well as in further-afield locations such as Levenshulme and Chorlton. Whilst they all look similar, there’s a great variation in designs and colour. Some are minor, such as the different bodies in the first two examples below, to the very different designs in the two below.
There’s been two different flower planter designs which feature the Manchester Bee, both of which are detailed below. I don’t have any information on the first design, but it looks to be a based on the bollard design. They used to visible across the city centre but the only ones I’ve found recently are located along Sackville Street, though there were a number dotted along Victoria Street, just outside Manchester Cathedral.
The second design were a recent introduction to the city, appearing along New Cathedral Way and on Albert Square outside Manchester Town Hall. Created by Hargreaves Foundry, the cast iron design can be found in three different sizes.
There used to be bins of a similar design to the bollards, but I’ve only come across this one example lately, located on a small area next to the Rochdale Canal, opposite Canal Street.
In 2014, a new bee bin design appear on the city’s streets. Designed by M-Four Design in collaboration with Wybone, the bins were part of an initiative to clean up the city centre, funded by the city’s part-ownership of Manchester airport. The high-capacity bins feature an image of one of the Manchester Town Hall mural bees appearing on each side. The design has proved popular enough for at least one person to buy their very own for their home.
I’ve come across a couple of different Manchester Bee seats, both seemingly the last examples of formerly commonplace designs. The first used to be located either side of the Abraham Lincoln statue in Lincoln Square, though last time I checked, they’ve since been removed.