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National Honey Show

The Smallholder Shield

Winners 2016 - The Smallholder Shield - Bill Fisher and Sue Carter collecting on behalf of Buckinghamshire.


We’re planning another bumper show, and will be at Sandown Park Racecourse again for 2017. The dates are Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th October 2017.

Visitors from The Press please contact our Publicity Secretary for more information and a press pass.

Publicity Leaflet

Download Publicity Leaflet 2017 PDF [2.18MB]

Publicity Photographs

All the photographs taken at the last National Honey Show as seen on our slideshows are available on Dropbox for publicity use in beekeeping newsletters, websites, magazines articles and the general press.

National Honey Show 2017 (Steven Turner)

National Honey Show 2016 (Steven Turner)

National Honey Show 2015 (Steven Turner)

National Honey Show 2013 (Steven Turner)

National Honey Show 2012 (Steven Turner)

National Honey Show 2011 (Steven Turner)

Articles about the Show

National Honey Show 2016 By Sue Carter, Fiona Matheson and Val Rhenius. Published with BBKA permission.
Hightlights from the 2016 Show PDF [165KB]

National Honey show preview article Smallholder Magazine 2012.
Smallholder Article PDF [1.54MB]

National Honey show preview article Smallholder Magazine 2011.
Smallholder Article PDF [1.6MB]

National Honey show preview article Smallholder Magazine 2010.
Smallholder Article PDF [2.11MB]

If you can help with promoting the National Honey Show please contact our Publicity Secretary.


The first ‘National Show of Bees & Honey’ was held in 1923 at the original Crystal Palace, Sydenham, London. There were no shows during the period of the Second World War. The show continues to be held each year in October.

The Crystal Palace Cup
The trustees of the Crystal Palace generously offered a cup for competition and the show was held annually at the Crystal Palace until 1936. Within a month of that show a fire completely destroyed our equipment and the whole building.

Then the class was for 12 sections, 12 jars each of light, medium, dark or granulated honey and 1lb of beeswax. By 1929 it was awarded to individuals and required 6 jars (in pairs of light, medium, dark or granulated) and 2 sections. In 1931 the class was altered again to 9 jars and 3 sections. The present class 4 was created in 1948 to jars (3 each of light, medium and naturally crystallised) and 1 shallow frame of honey for extraction.

The first winners of the cup in 1923 were Medway & County BKA (Kent). There have, however, been several notable winners of the cup who have taken it on more than one occasion. Whilst it was still an Association trophy until 1929, Gloucester BKA won it on three occasions in 1925/27. Individuals who have won it on three or more occasions include Wessex Apiaries (1947/9), John Sturdy (1962/4), John Read (4 times 1965/8), John Ramsey (1971/2 & 1974), Mr & Mrs Jim Orton (1976/7 & 1980).

The most outstanding winner to date is the late Mr Jim Watson of Warwickshire who won the cup on ten occasions, in 1973, 1975, 1981, and then for seven successive years 1983/89. Whether this achievement will ever be surpassed, we can only wait and see.

The prize money for the cup has been endowed in Jim’s memory for 25 years by the Warwickshire BKA.

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