Select Page

The Manchester Bee Timeline

The Manchester Bee Timeline is attempt to trace the symbol from the present day back to its starting point. It is very much a work in progress, with updates being added as new information is discovered. If you have any suggestions for additions, please do get in contact, or leave a comment below.


The first meeting of  the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity took place in the Ropemakers Pub on Chapel Street in Salford. One of their emblems is the beehive, symbolising working together for the common good.

You can find more information on the Oddfellows here:


The first building stage of the Beehive Mill cotton mill is completed in Ancoats, with additional sections added in later years. The building still stands to this day.


The coat of arms of the Oddfellows is incorporated, featuring a beehive in its lower left corner.

You can find more information on the arms here.


The borough of Manchester is granted its coat of arms. The crest depicts a globe filled with bees in-flight, with the bees representing industry and their placement on the globe representing Manchester’s global links.

You can find more information on the Manchester’s coat arms here.


The borough of Salford is granted its coat of arms. The arms feature 5 bees  represent Industry, while the shuttle represent the textile industry in the area.

You can find more information on Salford’s coat arms here.

On the 21st December, the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society opened their store for the first time. They became the basis for the modern Cooperative movement through their designing of the Rochdale Principles. Above the doorway is a beehive, representing working together for the good of the whole, examples of which can be found on Cooperative shops across the country.

You can find more information on the Cooperative beehive here.


Opening on 18th September, Manchester Town Hall features a number of depictions of bees in its interior. The most influential are the floor tiles outside the Banquet Hall, an area commonly referred to as “The Bees”. The buildings designer is Alfred Waterhouse.

You can find more information on the town hall bees here.


The Manchester Ship Canal Company was formed, with its coat of arms containing bee elements from both Manchester’s and Salford coat of arms.

You can find more information on the company here.


Two bees are introduced to the logo of Boddingtons Beer linking the brand to the city, but also acting a pun on the company name – Boddingtons Breweries.

You can find more information on the Boddington Bees here.



Building work is completed on the clock tower of the Refuge Assurance Company on Oxford Street. It was designed by Paul Waterhouse, son of Alfred Waterhouse who designed Manchester Town Hall. The quarter hour intervals feature bees in flight, supposedly a tribute from son to father.

You can find more information on the clock tower bees here.


Manchester Civic Week takes place between 2nd to the 9th October. To commemorate the week, bronze medals are depicting the bee. The example depicted is part of Manchester Museum’s collection.


The Manchester Bee bollard are introduced to the city’s streets. Designed by Warren Marshall, you can find more information on the bollards here.


The Victorian University of Manchester and UMIST amalgamate, creating the University of Manchester. The new coat of arms feature 3 bees on it’s shield.

You can find more information on the coat of arms here.


The Manchester Bee Bin is introduced to the city’s streets, featuring an image of one of the town hall bees.

You can find more information on the bins here.