The road ends, but the journey continues...

The Manchester Bee

My Manc Bee Badge on my Proud2Bee block

My Manc Bee Badge on my Proud2Bee block

By now, my Manc Bee Badge is becoming a familiar sight to readers of this blog. I’ve alluded to the history and significance of the symbol, but never really wrote about it other than to link readers to its historical background.
In short, the worker bee is an emblem for Manchester, England symbolizing the city’s hard-working past. It was a hive of activity during the Industrial Revolution and workers were soon dubbed “busy bees”.
After the Manchester Arena bombing last year, it took on further significance as a public symbol of unity against terrorism.
northern manchester bee art russell meeham

Manchester Bee Mural, Koffee Pot Cafe – Russell Meeham, artist

The insects are an integral part of the city’s psyche: in representing its citizens’ character; in innumerable themed artworks scribbled and commissioned throughout its buildings and streets; and in a literal sense as a city devoted to urban beekeeping.
These bees are the gritty epitome of a warm, creative, yet down-to-earth community of over 2.5 million. Their history is not my history, but I strongly relate to this place. I’m not sure exactly why, but that fateful day’s event last year drew me in to this city and its people. And I can’t escape the connection I feel.
noma manc bee closeup

Manchester Bee, NOMA – A.Murray, photo (click on photo for related blog post)

“And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns…
And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. That Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create…
from: ‘This is the Place’ poem by Tony Walsh

words to the poem, “This is the Place” by Tony Walsh, as read in the video above


  1. Annika Perry

    Laura, this poem is so powerful and never fails to bring me to smiles, tears, incredibly moving. I had no idea about the symbolism of the bee in relationship with Manchester – thank you so much for sharing!

    • laura bruno lilly

      I appreciate your comment, Annika. I enjoy finding all these types of connections – and sharing them as I discover them!

  2. Andy

    Great to see the bees are still flying.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Maybe someday this bee will stoke up and fly across the pond to visit the origin of her beehive!

  3. Janis

    Powerful poem. I love bees and I love that Manchester chose these hard-working insects as their symbol.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I love bees, too and coincidentally, I am allergic! (yes, I’m considering an urban beehive once we’re settled back into a place of our own)

  4. Mary

    That is an especially cool poem! thanks for sharing!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Glad it resonated with you, Zippy.

  5. Jennie Fitzkee

    Interesting connection, Laura. It is definitely worthy.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Jennie.

  6. Cindy

    Thank you for sharing the story!

    • laura bruno lilly

      You are more than welcome, Cindy!

  7. Jill Weatherholt

    Shortly after the bombing, I saw Tony Walsh on the news reading this powerful poem. It still gives me chills. Thanks for sharing it with us, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Poignant, powerful and hopeful.
      Thanks for stopping by, Jill.

  8. Lori

    Interesting about your strong connection. Maybe another life? 😉 Thanks for sharing this, Laura.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Perhaps…maybe I’m a former companion of Dr. Who and have forgotten all about it!

  9. Roseanne

    Hi Laura,
    What a wonderful, heartfelt poem! Oh man, it really gives me the chills and not from the weather. I applaud your whole post – and thank you for sharing it. I am having trouble even coming up with the words to express myself!
    ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      I understand about having trouble coming up with expressive words…so your comment is even more appreciated due to the greater effort involved in posting it. Thank you.
      I tend to express myself best in my music and you I suspect do the same in your (he)art: quilting.

  10. Jane Chesebrough

    Thank you for bringing this back to our attention, so often these tragedies are forgotten as we get back to regular living. Manchester has such heart and the reading by Tony Walsh so passionate. I also appreciate the close up of the bee which I thought was a penny at first. My eyes are fading, I am afraid.This is a wonderful tribute to a city that stands strong together

    • laura bruno lilly

      So sorry about your eyes, Jane.
      I am drawn to places/people/cities that stand strong together regardless of size, location, beauty or lack thereof, weather (!)…etc. Sounds like you are also, Jane.
      peace, friend

  11. L. Marie

    Awesome tribute, Laura! I really enjoyed that video! So cool to hear and see that poem read.

    • laura bruno lilly

      As an author yourself, it shows the power of the written word both read silently and spoken out loud…

  12. Bob Cloud

    Manchester England was also a very profound entity and element in the career of Winston Churchill and consequently the victorious outcome of WWll and it’s effect on all of Europe.. I don’t remember the particulars but there was a worker bee for you.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Bob, you’re so right! Mancunians have ‘true grit’ and I think the Duke would agree.

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