To celebrate the influential figures that put the great in Greater Manchester, the Great Northern Warehouse called upon its visitors to vote for their greatest northerner of all time, shortlisting the top 10 most voted for icons.

Each member of the shortlist has been immortalised by renowned local artist Stanley Chow, and the portraits will form a permanent exhibition at the Great Northern Warehouse launching on 9th November.

Great Northern has produced a postcard set of the portraits priced at £10 each (+P&P), which are now available to buy from the Forever Manchester Shop, with every penny from the sales being donated to Forever Manchester.


The 10 Great Northerners in the exhibition are:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Caroline Aherne (1963 – 2016)

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

9. 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.

10. 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.