fonds BFA - Bee Farmers' Association Archive

Identity area

Reference code



Bee Farmers' Association Archive


  • [1950s]-2011 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.06 cubic metres

3 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Bee Farmers' Association was founded in 1935 as the Honey Producers Association of Great Britain (HPA). Established to represent the commercial beekeepers of the United Kingdom, the Association aimed to promote the sale of domestic honey. All members had to have at least forty hives of bees.

During the next four years the organisation focused on the marketing aspect of the industry, cooperating with the Ministry of Agriculture to try and limit imported honey. Enquiries by the HPA into the food trade made it clear that buyers of honey found domestic honey uninteresting because of the sporadic nature of supplies, and the organisation aimed to tackle this by standardizing output and prices.

The organisation experienced a lull during the war, with very limited funds, but numbers began to steadily grow again after 1945 and between 1953 and 1961 the Association enjoyed a period of growth and could, by 1963, claim to speak for the majority of commercial beekeepers. The HPA disaffiliated with the British Bee Keepers' Association in 1958, and affiliated with the National Farmers Union in 1961. In 1967 the HPA changed its name to the Bee Farmers Association of Great Britain.

Today the Bee Farmer's Association represents around 450 bee farming businesses. Governed by an elected board of directors and regional representatives, it aims to increase the number of bee farmers, improve crop yields, represent the industry and to provide information and support to members. The Association was the first organisation to create a bee farmer apprenticeship.

Famous members have included A. S. Rowse, founder of Rowse Honey Ltd; R. O. B. Manley, inventor of the Manley moveable frame hives; and Alec Wilfred Gale of Marlborough, whose family founded Gale's Honey.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 2014 by the Bee Farmers' Association.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Includes Rules of the Association, 1950s; membership lists, 1960s-1996; Annual General Meeting minutes, 1955-2000 (with gaps); Spring Business Meeting minutes, 1956-2002 (with gaps); Year Books, 1997-2009 (with gaps); Bulletins, 1950s-2011 (with gaps); typescript ‘A brief history of the Honey Producers Association, later the Bee Farmers Association, 1935-1962’, 1960s.


Further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

At present the material is arranged in loose chronological order. The monthly Bulletins form the bulk of the archive (although these are not a complete set) with minutes, membership lists and other related papers appended to them.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

The archive has not yet been catalogued but a loose overview of its contents can be seen in the above scope and content.

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Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by S. A. Shearn, 06.10.16.




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