Tuesday, 16 March 2010
When I first started at YSP I wondered if the estate had any records of keeping bees in the past.
Saskia, who is the Heritage Researcher at YSP sent me this email:
I attach the info from the gardener's diaries - it's really just a couple of tit-bits but it demonstrates the continued presence of bees and beekeeping on the site and surrounding lands.
Also - interesting that the bees are recorded right until the end of October (not just spring / summer months).
All the best
So the following are excerpts from the Head Gardener's diaries kept in the Bretton Hall and Dearn Valley Collection, Special Collections, University of Leeds:
20th January 1974: Very mild and sunny. Bees flying like mad.
3rd June 1974: Warm and sunny all day. Bees flying again.
3rd October 1977: Bees nest in fork.
6th October 1977: Fumigated bees in fallen tree.
Saskia also wrote: "From conversations with the Head Gardener Dave Edwards, the old late E.C. Frost (used to be head gardener) was a beekeeper who kept hives in the Bothy Wall. In addition, beekeepers used to tend to hives during the summer months in the land behind the visitor centre and staff car park."
I'm also keen on finding older records of keeping bees on the estate if there are any. Considering the age of the Bretton Estate - there must have been more beekeeping during its history.
The image here is another from my Blackboard Illustrations for Object Lessons by F.Steeley & B.H. Trotman