HBKA History

Harrow Beekeepers Association was founded in 1919. The original accounts shows that subscriptions were collected in September, it is believed after a first meeting in March. When it started, the predominant hive types were skeps and WBC, the first "National" hives in the area did not appear until 1938. The association has run an annual honey show since founding, the last half century or so as part of the Harrow Show, latterly the Harrow in Leaf Show. Some of the association history is summarised in our 80th anniversary Bee Fair programme from 1999:

Bee Fair

One claim is that Harrow is the oldest beekeeping association to have existed continuously in Middlesex. Of neighbouring associations, Enfield was founded in 1923. Barnet was founded in 1911 but spent some time as part of Hertfordshire. In truth, most of our suburban local associations were founded around this time in the early 20th Century. It was a time when the suburbs were expanding, many people had a garden or allotment for the first time and local firms were established who started catering for hobby beekeepers. Among suppliers in our area were EH Taylor of Welwyn (largest in England at one time, taken over by Thornes in the 1980s) and Lee's of Uxbridge which was still trading in the 1970s. Below is an ad for Robert Lee from a book published in 1922, very much what the early Harrow Beekeepers Association members would have available only a few stops down the Metropolitan line.

Lee

We are currently trying to expand the association archives available online so if you have any details from the past, especially photographs please get in touch.