Beekeeping in Barnet, a short history.

Foreword

These are short bites of the history of the association from the documents we still have in our possession and memories from members past and present.

The Foundation and Rise of the Association.

The association we have today we belive can be traced right back to these early days, We do have evidence of the interest in beekeeping for at least two generations of the Byng Family, in fact the Reverend Bing was a president of the association in the mid 1800's

Barnet & District Beekeepers Association is recorded in the British Beekeepers Journal as being formed by Mr Cutbush of Muswell Hill in 1911, The original association was to cover the areas of North Middlesex and South Herts this including Hadley, Chipping Barnet, East Barnet, New Southgate, South Mimms, Muswell Hill and East Finchley. The new association started with a healthy number of 30 members enrolling. Over the intervening years as other associations have formed in the surrounding areas, the Barnet & District Beekeepers Association now covers the smaller geographic area of the London Borough of Barnet north of the North Circular Road, with association apiaries in the borough as well as adjacent to the M25 in Hertfordshire.

1911 Beekeepers Journal

Extract from the November Issue 1911 Beekeepers Journal

The Barnet & District Beekeepers Association has kept the tradition of holding an Annual Honey Show since the formation of the association in 1911, with the exception of a few years during the First World War. The association still has a copy of the first Honey Show minutes describing the details of the event and its organisation.

The more formal meetings of the Barnet & District Beekeepers Association are held in a shared club house at Whalebones Park, Barnet, that has been held in trust since the 1980's. Whalebones Park is also the location of our training apiary, used in the training of new bee keepers and people interested in becoming bee keepers. There are also a number of association apiaries at Mill Hill, Chipping Barnet, East Barnet, Arkley, Shenley and South Mimms

World War I to World War II

1918 to 1930
Between 1918 and the late 30's the Association was very active, in the late 20's a group of members who worked at the Elstree film studios made a sixty minute silent film titled 'The year of the Bee' (We still have a copy of the film in our possession). The film was a great success and sold some 2500 copies world wide. During the 1970's it was transferred to VHS format and recently we have made the film available to all. It can be viewed on this web site and YouTube.

1930 to 1940
From 1930 to the outbreak of WWII, three silver cups were also presented to the Association, The Tidmarsh Cup in 1932, The Davis Cup in 1933 and The Ellis Cup 1938 to be awarded at the Annual Honey Show.

World War II, Dig for Victory to the modern Association

1940 to 2000
The Second World War caused the Association to mushroom in size to some 400 members, however the coming of peace also brought a change as the number of members declined rapidly, in spite of this the Association remained active, this is evidenced by the presentation of six more cups and trophies over the next forty years.
1957 - The Helen Wright Mead Mazer
1966 - The Tollington Shield
1982 - The Geoff Matthews Cup
1990 - The Ralph West Dry Mead
1994 - The Joe & Edna Price Trophy

The New Milenium

In 2000 the Millennium Commission gave the Association a grant of £2,275 for the purchase of beekeeping equipment and protective clothing.
2002 saw the lowest number of members on record, this led the Committee at the time to consider dissolving the Association, a low point in the Associations history, which was to become the fulcrum of the association's rejuvenation.

The Rejuvenation

At a stormy AGM in November 2003 the remaining Association members unanimously rejected the proposition to dissolve the Association and a year later in November 2004 a new committee committed to make positive changes to the Association took over the management and day to day running of the Association.
The greatest change was to adopted a policy of actively recruiting and training new beekeepers, this coincided with the growing awareness of the natural environment, the importance of the honey bee and our dependence on its survival.
An active training program was developed for the new beekeepers, supported by a search for, and securing of, suitable sites within the Barnet area to provide members with an apiary to keep their bees who otherwise would not have been able to. Since this point the Association has grown and continues to thrive.

In 2011 we celebrated our 100th birthday.
In recognition of the Association's Centenary the Association purchased a Silver cup for the Honey Show and hosted a very successful celebration Centenary Dinner at Hadley Memorial Hall with a speech from Celia Davis who is a leading light in the beekeeping world with a distinguished history, several books and many academic and practical accolades.

During 2011 the Barnet and District Beekeepers Association joined the Federation of Middlesex Beekeepers Associations, having previously been affiliated to the Hertfordshire Beekeepers Association since 1997. This move was made primarily due to the boundary changes at FERA which had placed the association in Eastern Region of FERA, whereas the logical and geographical home of the association is in the South East Region of FERA, the natural choice for our Association like other members of the Federation of Middlesex Beekeeepers Associations.