Although North Herts Beekeepers was founded in 1918, we can only find Minutes from the 1940’s. Membership levels seemed to be about 10-20 level up to 1939 from whence there was a gradual increase to 60-70 in 1944, and then there was a massive increase to 280 members in 1950 and a subscription of 5/- (0.25p). Thereafter there was a fall to about 45 in 1968. (The increase was due to the ‘special sugar allocation’ available to beekeepers just after the war… Who said that we beekeepers were a ‘canny lot’?).

In 1974 sugar cost about 7p/lb, and the NH Committee held 284 lbs of sugar as ‘stock’, valued in the accounts.! One of the most interesting aspects from the correspondence is that from the 70’s there was the problem of ‘aerial crop spraying’, when one of our members ‘lost’ 30 hives due to ‘negligent spraying’. Shirley Williams, MP, got involved through Tony Sheldrick our Secretary of the time, and matters were drawn out , as you can imagine. There are plenty of letters signed by ‘Shirley’ in the file and the comments are well worth a read. The trade-name for the chemical causing the problem was called “Metasystex”,… I expect it’s a banned substance now! Seemingly, 1948/49 was a bad period for honey-crop, and so too was 1954.

Historical input by Mr John Hill.