Take a look around when you’re walking through Manchester and everywhere you’ll see signs of the city’s past.
When we consider Manchester though, we think of its people, its attitude, and how in times of adversity we come together, stand up for what’s right, and make a difference. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll see signs of resistance right across the city.
Possibly Manchester’s best known sign of resistance is a red post box. The Victorian pillar box was only structure in the vicinity that survived the 1996 Manchester bombing and now carries a brass plaque with the inscription “This post box remained standing almost undamaged on June 15, 1996 when this area was devastated by a bomb. The box was removed during the rebuilding of the city centre and was returned to its original site on November 22nd 1999”
It would be remiss of us, when writing about resistance, not to mention the reaction to the attack of May 2017 where a suicide bomber targeted people leaving an Ariana Grande concert at the arena killing 22 and wounding 139. Many of the victims of the act of terrorism were children and it proved to be the deadliest attack in the UK since the London bombings twelve years earlier.
The astounding thing for us was the reaction from a city in shock. The offers of help on the night as people helped strangers escape a city under lock down; the gifts of food for the emergency services who worked through the night; and the flowers and tributes in St Ann’s Square which became a place of mourning and contemplation.
St Ann’s Square became another icon of Manchester’s resilience, a symbol of togetherness, hope, and community, which showed the rest of the world what our city is about.
The Manchester Bee, a symbol of working hard and working together, has been around for over 150 years. It has adorned the coat of arms of Manchester University and can be seen around the city on bollards, lamp posts and other street furniture. In 2017 it took another form as thousands of Mancunians took to the tattooist’s chair in a sign of resistance and had the Manchester Bee tattooed on them, in return for a donation to the Emergency Fund.
The 22 Bees campaign, set up by Prestwich illustrator Myro, was launched to raise money for the fund. It began as a plan to find 22 businesses willing to have the Bee drawn on their doors or windows in commemoration of the victims on the first anniversary, and as a sign of solidarity. When news of the project started spreading she was inundated with requests from hundreds of businesses wanting to take part.
If you want to make a donation on Myro’s Just Giving page you can do it here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/the22beesproject
Manchester will no doubt face dark times again but you can guarantee that each and every time, its people will come together. There will be more signs of resistance in the future, because that’s what we’re good at – standing up for what is right and not being cowed by those who want to hurt our people and our city.
Everywhere you look now, the Manchester Bee stands proud, a symbol of the city and its people.