Our first book "Constructive Beekeeping"

Posted on 31st January, 2024

Our first venture into publishing was from gathering together all my father's notes and realising they would make a useful reference for other beekeepers.


Jeremy Burbidge from Northern Bee Books, who we knew well  as a regular trade exhibitor at the show, was incredibly supportive, gave lots of very useful advice and stocks all our books.  


My Dad's notes needed some considerable editing, which fell to me.  I wanted to preserve his unique style, yet make sure everything was accurate, consistent and cross referenced correctly.


All the illustrations were drawn by Dad himself.  He would either take photos to draw from, or pin down another beekeeper (see below) or one of the family to hold or demonstrate something for him to study while making the sketch.

Scanning  in all the sketches, typing out the text and making up the pages to put the book together was great fun. 


My husband Steve proof read the book and pointed out that we needed a 'don't try this at home without thinking it through' health and safety warning for eg cleaning frames of propolis in boiling caustic soda (P45). 


So we gave Steve the task of researching and writing an appropriate message (introductory Pv).


When it came to designing the book cover, I selected illustrations from the book which picked out the shape from the hexagon containing the book title.

Dad had roped in his beekeeping friend Fred from Wimbledon Beekeepers  to hold a smoker for an illustration for the book. One of the photos chosen was Fred holding the smoker.  Sketch and front cover photo are shown above and right.


Of course we had to retake the original photographs that had been used to create the sketches so the backgrounds were uncluttered. 


Fred never lets me forget that he burned (that's his story) his hand

for the cause of the photo for the cover of this book.


Fred was himself an inventor of gadgets to help with his beekeeping, and each year used to enter a new invention into that class at The National Honey Show.


Here (left and right) Fred is shown next to his mighty Bait Hive Elevator
entered as an exhibit into the 2017 show.


Sadly time has caught up with us and my father passed away November 2022.  

Although Fred no longer enters inventions to the show, he sought me out at the show last October, we had a coffee together and he reminded me again of his great sacrifice in contributing to this book.

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