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WB Tegetmeier Honoured
John Williams
A plaque has been placed on the house where this naturalist, beekeeper and pigeon breeder
A LEADING Victorian naturalist, beekeeper and pigeon
fancier, William Bernhardt Tegetmeier, has been
remembered by a permanent heritage plaque (provided
by the London Borough of Haringey) being attached to
his former home, Willow Cottage, now 101 St James’
Lane, Muswell Hill, London.
Among some 30 people present at the unveiling ceremony
on 5 September were four of Mr Tegetmeier’s
great-great-grandchildren as well as Randal Keynes, the
great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin. Also present were
Councillor Gail Engert, members of the Hornsey Historical
Society, Liz Jack, Secretary of the North London Beekeepers’
Association and myself, representing the British
Beekeepers’ Association.
The proceedings were opened by John Hajdu, Chairman of
the Muswell Hill and Fortis Green Association which first
proposed the Haringey historical plaque.
A letter from veteran BBC broadcaster Sir David
Attenborough led the tributes to the work of WB Tegetmeier.
In his letter, Sir David said: ‘I am delighted to know that WB Tegetmeier – naturalist, beekeeper, pigeon fancier and
this distinguished Victorian naturalist is being friend of Charles Darwin
commemorated in this way’.
Mr Tegetmeier produced books on a wide variety of topicsI gave a brief outline of Mr Tegetmeier’s life and work
from horses and zebras, to recipes for drinks. I know that (reproduced below), describing his work with bees and the
The Handbook of Household Management and Cookery haskey help he gave to Charles Darwin. This was followed by
been digitised and is now available on the internet.tributes from one of Mr Tegetmeier’s great-great grandsons,
another William Tegetmeier, and also by Randal Keynes. POULTRY EXPERT
The tributes continued in the Library where the party He was a recognised expert on poultry and The Poultry
enjoyed refreshments including a special celebration cake Book was originally a part work, selling for one shilling (5p)
provided by Liz Jacks. per part in fifteen monthly parts. This book initiated ideas
WILLIAM BERNHARDT TEGETMEIER that eventually led both to the protection of wild birds andto the scientific management of poultry. This and another,
William Bernhardt Tegetmeier was born in Colnbrook in Pheasants: Their Natural History and Practical Management,
1816 and lived to the grand age of 96. His father was born are both beautiful books with striking illustrations. They are
in Hanovaria and was a surgeon. The young William, the now collectors’ items.
oldest of three brothers, was educated by his father and at His own collection of books was sold to the University of
University College London. He married Ann Edwards Stone Wisconsin in 1930 where it became the nucleus of the
and they had five children. He was an Honorary Fellow of Miller Memorial Library.
the Zoological Society of London and was also a founder
member of the Savage Club. CALLED TO A SWARM
He was destined for a medical career at first but chose Mr Tegetmeier was the poultry and pigeon editor of The
natural history instead. He had a special interest in Field newspaper. One day he was called from the Field
pigeons, poultry and bees. His interest was practical and office in Wellington Street to deal with a swarm of bees that
scientific and he earned his living by writing and lecturing. had alighted over the Gaiety Theatre door.
Bee Craft Digital November 2008 Page 7
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