National Honey Show

Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th October 2016

This was our fourth visit to the National Honey Show as part of our microscopy outreach programme, held this year at a new venue, Sandown Park Racecourse in Esher in Surrey. Joan Bingley, Deborah Bishop, Kit Brownlee, Norman Chapman, Pam H. and Alan Wood manned the Club’s stand in the Trade Hall, which was adjacent to the area where all of the entries were displayed. Many people attending a workshop or lecture passed our stand on their way to the Food Hall, so we had lots of visitors. We had a good selection of specimens, microscopes, leaflets, books, journals and bulletins on the stand, and laptop computers with slide shows about the Club and our support for beekeepers. We had 3 tables, so there was plenty of space for our displays and for visitors.

Norman Chapman and Kit Brownlee set up the standNorman Chapman and Kit Brownlee set up the Quekett stand [by Pam H.]

Norman Chapman and Joan Bingley on the Quekett standNorman Chapman and Joan Bingley on the Quekett stand

Deborah Bishop with several visitors to the standDeborah Bishop with several visitors to the stand [by Pam H.]

We had a Vickers stereomicroscope for viewing slides of bee parts, an Olympus SZ4045 for viewing a set honeybee (on one of Martin Hinchcliffe’s specimen holders), and monocular Watson System 70 and Lomo Biolam C11 compound microscopes for viewing pollen slides.

Visitors using stereo and compound microscopesVisitors using stereo and compound microscopes

The 4 pollen slides were part of a quiz for children. The labels were covered, and children (and adults) were asked to identify the pollen using four laminated pages from Norman’s book Pollen Microscopy. The evening primrose pollen grain was easy to identify because of its distinctive shape, but the morning glory, hollyhock and mallow were more difficult to identify correctly

Pollen slidesPollen slides

Pollen drawingsPollen drawings

Pollen slide on a Biolam microscopePollen slide on a Biolam microscope

Show mascot identifying pollenShow mascot trying to identify pollen (we hesitated to mention that the microscope had an eyepiece camera so the image was on a computer screen) [by Pam H.]

Slide of honeybee head under stereomicroscopeSlide of honeybee head under stereomicroscope

We also had some Natural History Museum microscopes that proved popular with adults for their own use as well as for Christmas presents, and some specimens mounted on plastic slides.

Microscopes and magnifiers for childrenMicroscopes and magnifiers for children

Specimens on plastic slidesSpecimens on plastic slides

The presence of Norman Chapman on the stand always attracts visitors, and this year he was demonstrating how he produces his drawings of pollen grains on tracing paper over a printed photomicrograph. Norman was also selling and signing copies of his book Pollen Microscopy, and showing the microscope that he uses, some of his beautifully-mounted pollen slides, and some of his home-made gadgets.

Norman Chapman selling a copy of his bookNorman Chapman selling a copy of his book

Norman Chapman drawing a pollen grainNorman Chapman drawing a pollen grain

Norman Chapman’s gadgetsSome of Norman Chapman’s gadgets

One of the Club’s obligations as a charity is to promote microscopy, and our stand generated a lot of interest from beekeepers, so we should attend the Show again in 2017.

The Club thanks member Norman Chapman and his daughter Val Rhenius (the Publicity Secretary and Trade Hall Booking Secretary) for organising our stand at this very impressive and well-organised event.

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This year, the exhibition was in the same room as the sales tables and so lots more people were able to see the displays of honey, beeswax, mead, honeycomb, frames, photographs and microscope slides.

Long rows of jars of honeyLong rows of jars of honey

Labelled jars of honeyLabelled jars of honey

Honey productsHoney products

Honey displayHoney display

Lots of bottles of meadLots of bottles of mead

Photographs for judgingPhotographs for judging

One of the slides for judgingOne of the slides for judging

Slide on a microscope provided by BrunelSlide on a microscope provided by Brunel

Beeswax flowersBeeswax flowers

Beeswax fruitBeeswax fruit

Beeswax shapesBeeswax shapes

Carrick School displayCarrick Academy display

Girvan School displayGirvan Primary School display

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Trade Hall

In addition to the Quekett stand, there were lots of stands in the Trade Hall where members of the public could buy almost anything a beekeeper could desire (including microscopes), browse books on bees, find out about associations to join, learn about beekeeping in developing countries and learn about pests and diseases of bees.

Brunel Microscopes standBrunel Microscopes had a stand selling microscopes and equipment for beekeepers interested in microscopy

Alan Potter, Managing Director of Brunel Microscopes, led two workshops for beekeepers, “Microscopy – Preparing Pollen Slides” and “Microscopy – Preparing Slides of Honeybee Parts”.

Beekeeping historyBeekeeping History Group

Beekeeping suppliesBeekeeping supplies

Protective clothingProtective clothing from BBwear


Northern Bee BooksNew and used books on bees, beekeeping and pollen from Northern Bee Books

IBRAIBRA (International Bee Research Association)

Wild flower seedsWild flower seeds


Report and photographs by Alan Wood

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