In many ways, Chelmsford is steeped in the craft of beekeeping, with the first meeting of the Essex Bee Keepers Association (EBKA) being held at 90 High Street, Chelmsford on the 14th July 1880.
In the days of steam trains and gas lamps, a membership cost just 2/6 (two shillings and six pence or about 12.5 pence in today’s money). It is interesting to see that, even though they were just emerging from an era of keeping bees in straw skeps and killing bees over pits of burning sulphur to get to the honey; many of the issues discussed at meetings would have been similar to those we have to deal with today: foul brood, the Country Show, purchase of a bee tent and who would be this year’s Secretary!
Following the growth of beekeeping in the early 20th Century, a number of divisions were created within the EBKA, with the Chelmsford Division being formed in 1918. In those days, the advantages of membership included visits from experts & local advisers; free disinfectants and reduced prices on candy (bee food).
Whilst many things have changed, some have not. We remain committed to the promotion of beekeeping and meet together regularly in Chelmsford to share friendship, knowledge and the love of beekeeping.
With the access to knowledge that the internet has brought us, coupled with advances in science and the wealth of experience of our “older” beekeepers, we now have a greater understanding of the craft. However, as any beekeeper will tell you, “bees invariably don’t” – meaning that beekeeping is not an exact science as most of the bees have not read the beekeeping books!
The current membership in Chelmsford is aged from 13 to a more mature number (there is no age limit!). We have over 100 members who would be delighted to share their knowledge of the craft with you. As with many pursuits, there are numerous facets to beekeeping which will keep you busy throughout both summer and winter!
If we have sparked an interest, please visit the Getting started section of our website.