A rough history of Worcestershire beekeepers Association.
In March 1882 Mr AH Martin of Evesham gave a lecture on Bees and Beekeeping to the Evesham Institute Field Naturalists Club
The lecture was printed ,in full, in the Evesham journal and provoked a great deal of interest so that Mr Martin sent 50 postcards to ladies and gentlemen to determine the level of interest for the establishment of an association. He had 40 positive replies.
He wrote to Lord Beauchamp of Madresfield Court, Malvern asking whether he would be willing to take the role of President. On Saturday 14th Oct 1882 a meeting was held in the Worcester Guildhall for the purpose of establishing a beekeeping association for Worcestershire
The new vicar of Evesham Rev. Ross Barker was actively involved chairing the inaugural meeting, Mr Martin (Evesham) was elected secretary, and Mr T. Slatter (Evesham ) treasurer
Rev. Ross Barker stated that the dissemination of literature, showing the improvements in methods of beekeeping, was a great advantage.
In Hertfordshire he had found that to interest villagers in beekeeping did a great deal of good. In 1880 he had sold for one poor man £9 worth of honey in London, and in 1881 a cottager had produced nearly 1000lbs. from 14 stocks of bees.
Beekeeping was not always a success but it was a source of interest and cultivated the intelligence.
Dr Fernie of Malvern said that some of the happiest moments of his life were those he had devoted to his bees. In his busy professional life, if he could run to his bees for a half hour he found inexhaustible delight.
The Worcestershire Beekeepers Association was duly formed with Earl Beauchamp as its President.
And vice presidents The Lord Bishop of Worcester, The Earl of Dudley, Lord Northwick, Lord Lyttleton, The Dean of Worcester, Lady Georgina Vernon, Lord Edward Churchill, Sir E. Lechmere Bart.M.P . Mr G Hastings M.P.
The objects of the association were the same as those of Warwickshire BKA namely;
The encouragement, improvement, and advancement of bee culture particularly as a means of bettering the condition of cottagers and agricultural labourers, as well as advocating humanity to that most industrious of labourers, the honeybee.
This was a time of great encouragement and innovation in beekeeping with many associations being founded. Indeed, a few years earlier, Lady Georgina Vernon of Hanbury Hall, had tried to start a Worcestershire Association and had held a honey show in Worcester, but it had foundered for lack of support.
Frame hives were being advocated at this time as a much more humane method of beekeeping compared to skeps, as it permitted honey harvesting without colony destruction and permitted easier overwintering of colonies. This was followed by the easier extraction of honey and the re-use of combs.
1851 Langstroth hive
1860 Woodbury hive ( Exeter)
1866 T Cowan hive
1873 British Bee journal founded
1884 BBKA founded
1885 campaign by William Broughton Carr to promote extracted honey
1890 WBC hive details published.
A further surge of interest in Beekeeping occurred between the world wars. The National hive came in 1920 (preceded by the Economic and Simplicity hives) and in April 1932 Kidderminster branch was formed and the county committee hoped that it might be possible to form new branches at Evesham, Bromsgrove and a joint branch of Malvern and Worcester in the near future.
The Ministry Beekeeping Advisor Mr William Herrod Hempsall gave a lecture on ‘Prominent Apiaries and Beekeepers of Great Britain illustrated by cinema films’ at various venues, throughout the County. On Friday 10th Nov 1933 he gave the lecture at Prince Henry’s Grammar School Evesham, and the result of his visit was that a branch was formed at Evesham.
The NorthEast Worcestershire branch ( Bromsgrove) was flourishing in 1934, but I will need to do further research to discover the origins of Hagley and Stourbridge. A group of Gt Witley members who had been meeting as a sub group of Worcester city, hived off on their own in 1953, and the Tenbury and Redditch branches disappeared.
This leaves us with the current position of seven branches occupying the county of Worcestershire with a combined total membership of around 700.
As part of the Worcestershire BKA, we have a County Executive that meets 4 times a year to run the 7 Branches. These meetings mange the operations with the following format:
County Executive Committee
President, Secretary, Treasurer (elected at the County AGM )
Two named representatives from each of the seven Branches
( usually elected at each Branch AGM)
Evesham Hagley Great Witley Kidderminster Malvern North East Worcester and and
This meets four times a year to ensure that various events are in hand and to communicate with branches via their representatives.
Topics reviewed at each meeting are;
Correspondence received for information ( these and enquiries from the website are generally e-mailed directly to branch secretaries)
Correspondence requiring a response
Matters raised by branches via their exec member
Branch hosting the County AGM gives details of venue and date, possibly also speaker or theme, for inclusion in branch programmes.
Request for branch secretaries to provide a summary of activities and notable branch events for inclusion in the Annual Yearbook.
Also an updated list of branch officers is required following the branch AGMs.
Plans for preparation of yearbook.
Plans for Countrytastic – who will do what
Fix the level of any honoraria.
Discussion of the propositions for the BBKA annual delegates meeting.
Feedback from the National Honey show AGM, and members successes.
Confirmation of County AGM details
Check whether existing officers are willing to continue.
Check whether trophies have been returned and engraved
Consider any recommendations for honorary life County membership
Arrangements for the Spring Show at Malvern discussed, including honey price, supply of honey, source of observation hive, stewarding, and arrangements for the display.
Plans for the 3-Counties show exhibit
Progress on compilation of the yearbook.
Feedback from the County AGM and the Malvern show.
Final confirmation of 3-Counties show and help required.
Appoint a member to represent us at National \Honey show AGM
Appoint a member to represent us at MSWCC AGM
Appoint a member to represent us at BBKA annual delegates meeting.
Forward planning for County Honey show, any amendments to the schedule. Who will prepare and distribute schedules.
Promotion of MSWCC
Final arrangements for the County honey show,
including honey price, supply of honey, source of observation hive, stewarding.
(Schedules will have been e-mailed to members)
Paper copies of schedule and entry form available for distribution to those who are not on e-mail.
Determination of the capitation for next year,to be ratified at the AGM.
Consideration of any propositions to be made to the BBKA