Liz Juby delves into the archives...
As the formatted pages for the website from the BBKA contained a History section, I made recent enquiries about the Society's background and was presented with a wine box (!) full of past minutes, in beautiful handwriting and bound in hardback books.
The first page is a report of the meeting of the Slough War-time Horticultural Committee on 12th January 1944 which was held to form the Slough and District Beekeepers' Society. Mr Bates was proposed and seconded as Chairman, with various other committee members, and they were given the responsibility to 'frame the Rules and Regulations of the Society' at the next meeting.
References to the War-Time Horticultural Committee places this into an historical context, as perhaps does the reference to Rules and Regulations (I haven't been aware of anything quite like that in the past few years), but I have to say that otherwise the overwhelming impression is that things have not changed very much! Probably the last major change took place recently, when it was decided to lengthen the name to our current title, to reflect the wide home area of our members.
The Annual subscription was set initially at 5/- (five shillings) for full members, 2/6 for additional members from the same household and 1/- for members under 18. The object of the Society was 'to promote efficient beekeeping' and it was declared that 'novice members desiring assistance can apply to the Honorary Secretary who will put them in touch with an experienced member willing to assist'. I'm sure they would be delighted with our data bases (although probably not understanding the terms used!). I have to say though, I do not usually refer to our current secretary with the full 'honorary' title - perhaps he would like to reinstate it!
In the first few meetings it was decided to install a 'Demonstration Apiary' and to purchase a National Hive for this. Initially this was set up in the grounds of Baylis House but the following year moved to the nurseries attached to Salt Hill Playing Field. The committee also decided to arrange regular lectures for members. A Mr Tweedie gave a lecture on 18th April entitled 'First steps in Beekeeping'. Think how impressed he'd be with the education initiatives introduced in the last few years!
In fact I think all those early members would be intensely proud that what they started so many years ago is still a flourishing society, continuing in their very impressive first footsteps. We have many reasons to be thankful to them!