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The Chivers hives were
originally painted white, is very like the door on a Much will depend on how
blue and green Taylor’s WBC. many supers I need. Thehives are not as easy to
CUSTOM MADE? work as Nationals. They are
harder to split once theI suspect that Chivers took
bees have propolised thethe best bits from a number
joints, but plenty ofSalvaging usable parts of designs at the time and
petroleum jelly might solveresulted in four complete had a large number of hives
hives that. made.
The supers will not slide offThey were certainly very well
CAMBRIDGE with the fillet all around the constructed. As I have been
RECORDS OFFICE base but it makes it veryrenovating them it has been hard to avoid the odd
possible to see that mostI spent a fascinating squashed bee. I have to
morning at the Cambridge parts were screwed use more smoke than I
Record Office. There was together. All the screws would on my National hives
nothing about the hives but were countersunk and filled to force the bees down
I was amazed at the over. The fillets that form before adding a super.
amount of steam that was the slots between the boxes
provided to Chivers Honey are all carefully shaped. I I have to admit, they areworth the extra work. They
Department just after the suspect that the nailed just look the part in the
first world war. I assume parts may be replacements. orchard behind the old
they used it to melt honey I have since found out, from English thatched cottage. z
out of the wax or maybe to a former employee of
clean the hives and frames. Chivers, that the hives were
I was disappointed to read all made on site by the
that honey produced on the company carpenter.
farm was for ‘internal use’. WORKING THE HIVES
All the honey sold under the
Chivers label was from New The fourth and final hive
the orchard he stopped and Zealand. has recently been renovated
asked ‘Did these hives used and will probably beSTILL SOME OTHERS
to be blue and green?’ ‘Yes. colonised later this year.
Why?’ ‘I painted them that I may never know the
colour.’ complete history of these
About 20 years earlier he hives, but I have found that there are others still in use
had worked for Chivers as by other beekeepers in the
their beekeeper. He told me Cambridge and
that there used to be over Peterborough Beekeepers' The Chivers hive shows
200 of these hives. Most Associations. similarities to Cowan's
were about 80 years old. hive (above) and
These might well be the last I originally thought that they EH Taylor's Dovetailed
of them. were made by EH Taylor of hive (left)
Hertfordshire, possiblyThat started me trying to
before they started makingfind out more about them. I
their famous WBC. Thehave spoken to a number of
stand and some otherhistorians who have pointed
features are similar to theirout various resemblances to
Dovetailed hives of the early
parts of other hives, but not 1920s.
the Chivers hive.
There are also similarities
I have asked Chivers, with the hive designed by a
through their farm manager, former president of the
but other than telling me BBKA, Thomas William
that the Chivers Archive is Cowan. The flat roof and
at the Cambridge Record slotted sides are very
Office, he could not help. similar. The door, however,
Bee Craft Digital November 2008 Page 17
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