Some friends of some friends were having a clear-out and I ended up with this.
It’s a lightweight and highly ventilated box made specifically to send bees on the railway. The lid it tightened securely down using butterfly nuts on hinged bolts.
The last address it was sent to, or sent back to, is still on the end of the box above the copper covered entrance
The scribbled address reads: Mountain Grey Apiary – Brough – Yorks
According to Dave Cushman’s site:
‘Caucasian queens were imported into the U.K in large numbers by Mr Abbott (possibly Arthur) of Mountain Grey Apiaries, Brough, Yorkshire (liquidation 4 November 1966) from 1926 onwards.’
And I found this as well:
Beneath the paintwork more feint words can just be seen.
Difficult to read unless you mess around with the picture but reads: M.G.A. – Holme Moor – East Yorks
I cannot find anything associated with this information but I am assuming that M.G.A. is Mountain Grey Apiary.
So this simple little box, which must be at least 50 years old, has a place in British beekeeping history having been used to distribute new colonies with Caucasian queens using the rail network, in a time when many live creatures were ‘posted’ around the country. I wonder if Arthur made this box himself?