Greater Manchester has played host to more than its fair share of icons over the
years, with the region long being the backdrop to game-changing artists, innovators,
sports people, actors and activists.
And to celebrate the influential figures that put the great in Greater Manchester, the
Great Northern Warehouse – a leisure destination located on Manchester’s
Deansgate – has called upon its visitors to vote for their greatest northerner of all
To qualify for the shortlist, the nominated people needed to have lived, worked or
made a significant contribution to Greater Manchester.
And now the final shortlist has been revealed ahead of the final vote, which will
crown one legend as the unquestionable greatest northerner of all time.
The 10-strong shortlist includes some posthumous entries, including inventor and
World War II hero Alan Turing, political activist and leader of the British Suffragettes
Emmeline Pankhurst, Factory Records founder Tony Wilson, iconic artist L.S.
Lowry, comedian Victoria Wood and The Royle Family actor Caroline Aherne.
Elsewhere, the shortlist includes some Mancunian titans who are still making a
difference today – actors Sir Ian McKellan and Maxine Peake both feature, while
Liam Gallagher was voted in ahead of his brother, Noel. Sir Bobby Charlton, who
turned 80 years old recently, completes the list.
Each member of the shortlist has been immortalised by renowned artist Stanley
Chow, and the portraits form a permanent exhibition at the Great Northern
Warehouse launching on 9 November.
The artworks have also been uploaded to Great Northern’s Facebook page, where
fans and followers can vote for the greatest ever northerner with a ‘like’ – the portrait
with the most likes by Friday 1 December will officially be crowned the greatest
northerner of them all.
Commenting on the list and those selected, Eloise Moss, a lecturer in Modern British
History at University of Manchester, said, “These amazing, legendary men and
women from the worlds of science, drama, politics, and art have not only established
the North as the centre of radical new modes of thought and cultural innovation, but
also changed the world with their contributions.
“Whether it be Turing's creation of the computer or Pankhurst's fight for women’s
rights, or the wonderful acting and activism of Maxine Peake and Sir Ian McKellen,
these are figures who have, literally, made the world a better place.
“Bridging historic and contemporary periods, and continuing to inspire us through
their intelligence, passion, and – in the case of the legendary Victoria Wood – keep us
smiling with their humour, our Great Northerners are people of whom the region can
be truly proud.”
Artist Stanley Chow said, “Drawing portraits is my passion, and I’m so pleased to
have the opportunity to draw some of the greatest northerners of all time.
“Being from Manchester myself, I can appreciate first hand the effects these
legendary men and women have had on the region as well as the wider world.”
Centre Director for Great Northern Mark Schofield said, “The Great Northern
Warehouse is a historic and significant building in Manchester but as we all know,
the city is best known for its famous sons and daughters.
“We’re delighted to have teamed up with Stanley Chow – a great northerner in his
own right – to celebrate these icons. We hope our visitors enjoy his artworks and we
look forward to celebrating more great northerners in time.”
Limited edition postcards of the individual portraits are available to buy on the
Forever Manchester website with all funds being donated to the Forever Manchester