Bermondsey, close to London Bridge, has a rich history that also includes beekeeping. Bermondsey Street Bees is keeping that tradition alive some centuries later by keeping bees on a rooftop and championing the importance of responsible beekeeping in the city.
Dale Gibson has been nurturing his Bermondsey rooftop apiary for ten years, producing award winning honey from the urban location. There are over 3,000 hives registered within a ten kilometres radius of his rooftop apiary.
Bermondsey Street itself is a creative hub, with an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars in the heart of old London. Surrounded by parks and lush rooftop gardens, Bermondsey Street provides a surprisingly green environment.
Dale Gibson says: “There is a long history of beekeeping in this area and we intend to promote sustainable beekeeping in a way that it won’t just have a long history but have a long and happy future.”
Bermondsey Street Bees produce a range of raw and unprocessed honeys. The process is simple and one which deploys traditional techniques – the honey is simply spun out by hand, cold-filtered and decanted into jars, so to preserve nutritional value and richly layered tastes.
Dale Gibson has become a champion for sustainable beekeeping, since completing a beekeeping course more than 10 years ago. The beekeeper also produces honey from a farm in the Suffolk countryside, but it’s his city-produced apiary that has been winning the taste sensation awards for its slightly floral scented honey.
His knowledge of the importance of the Bermondsey area to the bee community has put Dale Gibson in a position where he has become a voice for beekeeping and sustainability.
Aware of the lack of green space in London and therefore the space for bees to forage, Dale Gibson has been instrumental in working with local government, charities like Bankside Open Spaces Trust and Potters Fields Trust, and community groups like Leathermarket JMB to plant pollinator-friendly and pollinator-rich gardens.
Projects have included planting structural forage like horse chestnut, hazel, and willow trees as well as herbs, currant bushes, and passion fruit, all of which are key to sustaining London’s bee population.
Dale Gibson adds: “Beekeeping is a local business, so the development of forage in London has to be local. As a city we are not making any more green space. Therefore we have to optimise the green space that we have now.”
Bermondsey Street Bees also make natural beeswax candles and beeswax polish. Bermondsey Street Bees honeys and other products can be purchased at Maltby Street Market and selected stockists.
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, music and arts. Rosalind also works as a psychic, counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com