Nectarworks project looking to collect tales of a traditional pastime
The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership is on a mission to trace the history of beekeeping as part of a project that is enabling people to take action for bees and other pollinators.
Mandy Oliver, Community Officer from the Partnership’s Nectarworks project, wants to interview veteran beekeepers, or their families, about how people went about this traditional pastime.
The interviews will be recorded and kept as an oral history for generations to come.
Beekeepers came from far and wide
With its flower-rich meadows, the North Pennines attracted bee keepers from further afield. For example, it is thought that keepers used to come from Bishop Auckland to Wolsingham to let their honey bees feed on the village’s abundance of heather.
And another known fact is that people used to build spaces called ‘bee boles’ in dry stones walls.
But apart from those two pieces of information, not much else is known about the lives of bees and beekeepers in years gone by, and very little is documented.
Mandy said: “We would love to find out about our beekeeping past and only veteran beekeepers, or their descendants, can really help us.
Stories and photographs wanted
“We need to make a record of this and we are planning to do this through an oral history project via Nectarworks. All we need to do is sit down with a voice recorder – don’t worry there’s no cameras – and just listen to people. Oral histories are a great way of capturing our past. We recently did a similar exercise on the fluorspar miners of Weardale. Without it there was a real danger this once important part of our past would be lost forever.”
Old photographs of past bee keepers are rare and Mandy would welcome the donation or loan of any images.
Mandy is also looking for potential interviewers to come forward to record the history of bee keeping and a special training day is being held on Wednesday, November 26 at Ireshopeburn Village Hall between 10am and 3pm.
If you have been a beekeeper in the North Pennines, or know of any of beekeepers, please contact Mandy Oliver on 01388 528801 or email email@example.com
Released: 29 October 2014