Past Presidents

In their own words

List of BBKA Presidents and Secretaries

The names are recorded on this framed list at the BBKA Headquarters.


1874 Sir John Lubbock

1878 Baroness Burdett-Coutts

1907 H.C. Todd

1908 M. Rose

1910 J.R. Dummelow

1912 A. Todd

1914 C.S. Routh

1916 C.J. Todd

1918 E.H. Gregory

1920 C.W. Burdon

1922 H.M. Gregory

1922 T.W. Cowan

1927 W.F. Reid

1932 Sir Ernest Spencer

1939-43 D. Lloyd-George

1946 E.B. Wedmore

1947 A.L. Gregg

1948 A.R. Cormack

1949 A.J.V. Blackman

1950 P.C. Thornton

1951 L. Illingworth

1952 W.B. Williams

1953 D.S. Hudson

1954 R.H Barnes

1955 J.F. Stanley

1956 L.E. Snelgrove

1957 S.E. Gooding

1958 R.H. Barnes

1959 W.F. Smith

1960 A.M. Dines

1961 R.H Barnes

1962 H.T. Bell

1964 T. Bradford

1966 F.W. Drake

1968 E. Humphreys

1970 R. Creighton

1972 A.N. Stratton

1974 Mrs R.E. Clark

1976 A.M. Dines

1977 H. Ashforth

1979 F.J. Crow

1981 G.W. Knights

1983 C.C. Tonsley

1985 H. Grainger

1987 H.R.C. Riches

1989 K. Showler

1991 W.E.J. Hooper

1992 A.D. Charles

1994 J.D. Frimston

1996 Mrs M.E.A. Dartnell

1998 A.R. Johnson

2000 M.J. Badger

2002 I.A. Preece

2004 G.R.Davies

2006 Dr. I Davis

2008 T.J Lovett

2010 M. Smith

2012 M. Tovey

2014 Dr. D. Aston

2016 J. Hendrie

2018 M. Murdin

2020 M. Wilson

2022 A. Rowberry


January 1986 M.H. Solley

January 1991 J.K. Law

January 1995 A.C. Waring

January 2000 P.B. Spencer

January 2004 Mrs I.C. Waring

July 2005 M.L. Tovey

July 2008 M. Harris

December 2010 J. Moseley

October 2016 L. Sidaway

Past Presidents in their own words

Margaret Murdin
Chair and President

The week following the ADM the BBKA Trustees meet to elect their Chair, Vice Chair and the Chairs of the Committees. In January 2016 I was elected as Chair.

At the time the BBKA faced many problems.

We had a £54,000 deficit and had carried a deficit in real terms for each of the previous 5 years

We had no educational offer for our members, and again this had been so for quite a few years

We had staffing difficulties. We had lost 3 office managers in recent years and had an Operations Director with an impossible job. Her job description really called for two full time posts so she was being pulled in several directions.

So, we had challenges.

With the support of the team of Trustees we attempted to sort the issues.

Reluctantly, we said goodbye to Jane Moseley. Leigh Sidaway, a Warwickshire beekeeper and experienced manager, was appointed as the BBKA’S General Manager and has been doing the job successfully ever since.

Leigh set about cutting costs, but only where this did not affect the membership. Everything was reviewed and procedures were gradually put in place to ensure value for money.

Miraculously, it all worked and at the end of the financial year we had a surplus of £45,000.

For the first time in years’ we did not need to ask the ADM for an increase in capitation.

We were able to repeat this each year and for the four years that I was Chair and President we held capitation at the 2016 level of £19 for each registered member.

My background is education and I was concerned that the BBKA, as a national body, had relatively little education on offer for our members.

I wrote a successful tender for £14,500 for Defra to part fund a series for two day training programmes for General Husbandry and Advanced Husbandry. My thanks go to Marin Anastasov who ran these programmes very successfully around the country for the following four years.

We needed educational material in our BBKA shop. So, I came up with the Special Issue series. BBKA News Editor, Sharon Blake, was, as always, amazingly supportive and her team worked hard to make the booklets high quality and competitively priced. None of the authors charged for their time, expertise or knowledge so we were able to price the booklets more or less at cost.

The series developed and to date I think we have 12 booklets covering many beekeeping topics as well as the 4 waterproof sheets produced by Wendy Maslin to be used at the hive side.

We updated and reprinted the Healthy Hive Guide with a forward by Tom Seeley and, because of our favourable financial position, it was priced at cost…£5.

More followed. We now have the Anatomy laminates which were first produced by Owen Meyer in the 1970’s, the archive films which were languishing in the back of the BBKA store room, the Course in a Case programmes which Ken Basterfield had transferred to a memory stick, and two video films about bees and beekeeping.

Pam Hunter, an experienced but retired research scientist revitalised our research programme and the last time I looked we were working with several Universities and renowned bee scientists to further our collective knowledge about honey bees. 

During this time we remodelled and extended to BBKA office at Stoneleigh to make a safer and more suitable working environment for our staff. The resulting reduced hall space is now part of the President’s Project to make the garden area and hall an inviting educational resource for the local community.

At the 2016 ADM I was elected as President and was able to continue the work of providing educational resources for members.

After 8 years I stood down at the 2020 ADM and passed the President’s baton to Margaret Wilson


John Hendrie

My two years as President of the BBKA were very interesting and passed quickly.

It was interesting to attend the various committees of the BBKA which gives a very good insight to the work of the BBKA and how much work is done by the Trustees on behalf of the members.

One of the duties of President is to attend funerals of prominent beekeepers on behalf of the BBKA. During my term I attended funerals of Dr Butler and Dr Bailey, both who worked on research in beekeeping in the 20 years after the second world war at the Rothamsted research station in Hertfordshire. Also Kingsley Law and Adrian Waring both former BBKA General Secretaries.

The president must support the other Trustees and especially the Chair. For my two years Margaret Murdin was Chair and we had many hours of discussions. It was quite a challenge to Chair the ADM but we always have an advisor on hand to help with difficult issues. I was delighted that our accounts and budget showed a surplus for my two years so we didn’t need to ask for a rise in capitation.

The annual International Meeting of Young Beekeepers was held at Marlborough School during my term. It was a great pleasure for BBKA to host the event. We also started the annual Presidents Prize. This is an annual presentation to a young beekeeper who has done something special for beekeeping in that year. The first prize for given to a Primary School boy in Halifax who had been collecting money to help to ‘save the bees’.

The President is also involved in the appointment of officers and I was delighted to be involved in the appointment of our General Secretary, Leigh Sidaway although it was sad to say goodbye to Jane Mosely who moved to a new job.

More Past President articles coming soon!