National Honey Show 2000

November 16th - 18th

If Pooh Bear had any notion of what constituted a gourmet heaven, then the millenium National Honey Show - with its serried displays of honey and honeycomb - must run a close second. And, for the second year running your Webmaster was despatched to Britain's premier honey-fest to report on the show.

Guest of honour David Bellamy - 20k Arriving at the exhibition hall at Kensington Town Hall around lunchtime on the Thursday [Day One of the Show], your webmaster was confronted by a throng of apiarists listening to the official opening address. On stage too, was David Bellamy, this year's guest of honour, and champion of botany and conservation. [pic. courtesy of  Steve Turner]

The one thing which struck me this time round was a much greater awareness of the internet among the exhibitors present. My first port of call was the stand of publisher Northern Bee Books, where Jeremy Burbridge, the head man, pointed me in the direction of the basement area and the stand of, his latest brainchild.

As it turned out the technical guru behind is our old friend Steve Turner who is also involved with BeeNet and the website. From Steve's briefing it sounds as if this new on-line resource [about a month old] could play a useful role for web-connected beekeepers; providing, among other things, a searchable database, on-line ordering from Northern Bee Books, free downloads of The Beekeepers Quarterly magazine, and a section for international honey trading - where commercial buyers can source produce. An interesting prospect indeed!

Row after row of honey - 16k While discussing this new website a gentleman called Raymond Chamberlin introduced himself. Raymond and his wife have set up a website designed to inform children about the world of bees - - something that we applaud, especially since many youngsters in urban areas know so little about the countryside or where their food comes from.
Returning to the ground floor old acquaintances were renewed at Bees for Development [BfD], Dr Bradbear telling me that she had been to Nepal during the year, taking her valuable beekeeping knowledge to that distant corner of the world.

Next door to the BfD stand was that of Bee Craft [see right] which is the official monthly magazine of the British Beekeepers' Association. Bee Craft also recently moved into the internet age and was promoting its website.

BeeCraft stand - 7k
Beeswax ship sculpture - 6k
Competition seems to be very fierce [in the nicest possible way, of course] among beekeepers for producing the best samples of honey, comb and other bee derived products. Among the beeswax exhibits was the amazing galleon [Spanish one imagines] seen to the left; its fine sails and rigging constructed from beeswax.
Photographic competition - 8k
The annual photographic competition also had a colourful bunch of entries revolving round, as you might imagine, bees and beekeeping. Entries included everything from colour and B&W prints to transparencies, with categories including micrography and close-up macro work. Interestingly, there's also a video category, and even a competition for a 2,000 word essay on beekeeping.
BB Wear stand - 8k
Stand of BB Wear

Among the 'trade' stands was a newcomer making protective clothing for beekeepers - BB Wear - the two owners of which started back in spring this year. Among the other small traders were a few selling beeswax and honey products, including Honeycomb Cosmetics who had a mind-boggling range of jars and bottles of items for sale.

BJ Sherriff International - 8k
Rival BJ Sherriff International

Honeycomb Cosmetics - 8k
Honeycomb Cosmetics

How does one conclude writing about another afternoon in the company of beekeepers other than to say that it has been a most enjoyable one. Unlike many other 'shows' feels a sense of community among the visitors rather than commercialism, although there is obviously a spirit of competitiveness among some present. Perhaps it is something to do with the fact that beekeepers have to tame and coax one of nature's most endearing species - the honey bee.

Copyright © 2000