William Woodley: Early Years At Stanmore (beekeeping documentary)

This video is about the early life of William Woodley.  William’s mother died when he was a child and he was looked after by an elderly aunt who lived at Stanmore.  Stanmore is a hamlet in the parish of Beedon, Berkshire, England.

During the swarming season William (aged seven) would mind his aunt’s bees, which in those days would be kept in straw skeps covered with hackles.  Should one of the hives swarm he would bring notice to the neighbours by tanging pots and pans.  He would help retrieve the swarm.  

As the young William grew up, he was apprenticed to a firm of grocers at Chieveley.  He later took an interest in the clock and watch trade and returned to Beedon.  

This video touches on the folklore surrounding the Stanmore tumulus (barrow): fairies, thunder and ploughs.  I also look at the Enclosure of Stanmore.

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Polystyrene Hive – assembling, painting and review Maisemore Brood Box

I thought I would do a video showing how to assemble Maisemore’s flat back polystyrene brood box, see how this poly brood box fits with existing wooden equipment.  I also transfer a colony of honey bees from a polystyrene nucleus hive to my newly assembly poly brood box and poly roof.

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Don't Blame The Beekeepers - a response to ThuleanPerspective

Don’t Blame The Beekeepers – A Response to ThuleanPerspective

A video on the Thulean Perspective YouTube Channel, Varg Vilkernes says beekeepers are thieves and you shouldn’t buy honey.  But is this correct?  In a world where honeybees’ natural habit is becoming scarce and modern farming is harming pollinators, would the disappearance of beekeepers improve the lot of the honeybee?


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Should Mr Woodley be blamed for the scale of the Isle of Wight Disease?

By 1917 the Isle of Wight Disease had ravaged Britain’s honeybee population.  It was also a time when Britain was fighting the First World War and suffering large numbers of casualties.  Many bee-keepers were blaming Mr Woodley for the Isle of Wight Disease:-

This had never any right to be, and I am satisfied we should not be in the position we are today had it not been for Mr. Woodley and a few of his friends; while our true friends of the B.B.K.A. were trying to get a Bee Diseases Bill passed, a few of these gentlemen of knowledge were giving their time and money and visiting the Board of Agriculture trying to defeat this Bill.

– J. Pearman, Derby. (1)

The opponents of legislation were in the minority, but they were better organised, and by the exercise of some occult influence they were able, as Mr. Woodley claims with the arrogant assumption of the possession of a monopoly of the knowledge of bee-keeping, to thwart a measure which, would have been of inestimable value not only to bee-keepers but to the community at large.  Mr. Woodley and his clique are quite welcome to all the credit they claim for having inflicted what is in reality a serious injury upon the bee-keeping industry, and the stigma attaches to them of having been the means of allowing “Isle of Wight” disease to run its course unchecked for an additional four years, thereby reducing the number of bees and the output of English honey to such scanty dimensions that £187,000 worth of foreign honey had to be imported in 1916 to make good the deficiency.

– George E. H. Pratt, Sheinton, Salop.(2)

I should like to say how heartily I agree with Mr. Pratt [9417] for his chiding Mr. Woodley in his article “Notes by the Way,” for it is very apt to give the impression to the uninitiated that legislation is not so urgently needed as most of us think, and I must add that the standpoint taken by Mr. Woodley seems hardly in accordance with his profession.  What would he say if he heard of a case of anthrax in which the owner of the infected animals absolutely refused to take any precautionary measures as laid down by law?  Especially if he had close neighbours keeping cattle.  If we have legislation for cattle breeders — why not for bee-keepers?  As all able bee-keepers are aware, it is not the bee-keeper proper for whom we require this legislation, but to bring those careless or ignorant, obstinate or indifferent…into proper line, and compel them to reduce the danger of infection by doing away with their “died out” skeps and old box hives.  “Old Dick Welch” would have to take up that rotten old skep, and so save Mr. Woodley much needless expense in the way of outlay for disinfectants and medicines for his own bees, by way of precautionary measures, to say nothing of time and labour.

– F. M.  Claridge.(3)

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Isle of Wight Disease

Were the honeybees foretelling the carnage of the First World War?     

bee folkloreHoneybees are reputed to be the messengers of the Gods.  On the death of their bee-master (beekeeper) the honeybees must be told.  It is thought that the honeybees on being told of their master’s death, would fly to the spirit-lands and tell them of his impending arrival.  Mr Woodley explains this tradition:

“On the death of the owner each hive was adorned with a bit of crape, and notified of its loss by some member of the family tapping it while repeating the words,

“Wake, little brownies, wake.  Your master’s dead another you must take.” [British Bee Journal 1907]

Ten years prior to the start of the First World War something strange was happening to the honeybees on the Isle of Wight.  This reader of the British Bee Journal in 1904 explains:-Read More »

Self-Righteous Beeks

Hunger Swarm BBJ 2 - 8 August 1907

This weekend has reaffirmed profiles I have created about certain types of people. Today in my people profiling study, I turn my attention to the self-righteous and more specifically, self-righteous beeks (beekeepers).

There are people who have unfulfilled ‘needs’ and these unmet ‘needs’ manifest in self-righteous attacks.  My theory is that the self-righteousness attack is a way to dominate another, and by doing so (usually in front of others) they project their (lack of) status.  I also theorise that the brain gives the body a dopamine hit in return for successfully undertaking a self-righteousness attack.Read More »