Great Northerners Exhibition

Posted On: 09.11.2017

‘Great Northerners’ is an exhibition celebrating Greater Manchester’s most influential and impactful people.

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, we have called upon our visitors to vote for their greatest northerner of all time.

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.

Each member of the shortlist has been immortalised by renowned local artist Stanley Chow, and the portraits form a permanent exhibition now in situ in Great Northern.

The artworks have also been uploaded to our 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.

Limited edition postcards of the individual portraits will also be available to buy at the launch or on the Forever Manchester website , with all funds being donated to the Forever Manchester charity.

Stanley Chow grew up in Manchester after his parents emigrated from Hong Kong. He became a full time artist in 2006 and in 2008 garnered global recognition for his work after he was commissioned to create artwork for The White Stripes’ album Icky Thump.

The top ten most voted for Greatest Northerners are listed below:

  • Alan Turing (1912 – 1954)

A highly influential mathematician and inventor in the development of theoretical computer science, credited for decrypting the German Enigma code during World War Two with his creation of the Turing machine. Turing moved to the University of Manchester after the war to work on software for one of the earliest stored-program computers, devising an experiment called the “Turing Test” addressing the problem of artificial intelligence.

  • Maxine Peake (1974 – present)

A Bolton-born film and television actress known for her talent and versatility, appearing in popular shows such as Dinnerladies, Shameless, and Three Girls among many others, as well as being a renowned feminist and socialist.

  • Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 – 1928)

A leading women’s rights and political activist, who led the British Suffragettes Movement which famously helped women win the right to vote in 1918.

  • LS Lowry (1887 – 1976)

Stretford-born Lowry was a highly successful post-war artist famous for painting urban scenes and industrial landscapes chronicling 20th Century city life, and enjoying a grassroots popularity known by few other artists due to his down-to-earth paintings and nature.

  • Ian McKellen (1939 – present)

An actor famous for his roles in blockbuster films such as Lord of the Rings and X-Men, as well as being a renowned activist continually championing the LGBT social movement worldwide. Born and bred in Manchester, McKellen regularly returns to Bolton School to give talks and Bolton Little Theatre, of which he is now a patron.

  • Victoria Wood (1953 – 2016)

A comedian, writer and actress, noted for her skills in observing culture and in satirising social classes with her unique and accessible humour hailed as a product of her northern roots.

  • Tony Wilson (1950 – 2007)

Radio presenter and record label owner who founded the legendary Factory Records, and credited as the man behind some of Manchester’s most successful bands including Joy Division and Happy Mondays. He was famously dubbed “Mr Manchester” for his work in promoting the culture of Manchester throughout his career.

  • Caroline Aherne (1963 – 2016)

Comedian and BAFTA winning writer, famous for creating popular northern-focused comedies such as The Royle Family and The Mrs Merton Show.

  • Bobby Charlton (1937 – present)

A footballer regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, who spent most of his career playing for Manchester United and is credited as being an essential part of the English World Cup winning team in 1966.

  1. Liam Gallagher (1972 – present)

A singer and songwriter, most well known for being the lead vocalist of Manchester-formed band Oasis and who remains one of the most recognisable figures in modern British music.



Vote for your all time favourite northerner by visiting our Facebook Page and give his or her portrait a ‘like’ before Friday 1 December, when the winner will be officially announced.