/ 100

History of Beekeeping Training

2013 saw the arrival of bees at our Llandudno centre. However, this is not the first time that Blind Veterans UK has been involved with bees. 

Jerry and Marjorie's Wedding in 1917

As part of the Country Life area established at St Dunstan's at Regent's Park in 1915, veterans were encouraged to undertake training in poultry farming, market gardening as well as beekeeping.

A lack of references in archives to involvement in beekeeping suggests that this wasn't so popular with veterans, however there is a notable exception in Samuel Keith 'Jerry' Jerome.

Jerry served in the First Australian Imperial Force and was wounded at Gallipoli, losing his left eye and came to Regent's Park for training in 1916. Soon afterwards he married Marjorie, the voluntary nurse who had looked after him in hospital and it was with her assistance that Jerry set up his own apiary in the 1920s.His father had kept an apiary and Jerry drew upon his childhood experience of assisting him, growing his hives to 60 by 1930.

In 1933 Jerry and Marjorie wrote two sketches about bees which were broadcast on the BBC's Children's Hour programme, and their hives continued to grow and thrive.

After Marjorie's death in 1957, Jerry remarried and his second wife, Vivien, shared his passion for beekeeping. Vivien continued with her bees following Jerry's death in 1966 and she also remained actively involved with Blind Veterans UK. In 1992 her short story 'A Bee Line...', written under the nom-de-plume of Queen Bee, won first prize in our Short Story Competition.

Vivien passed away in 2013 at the age of 103.